The process of tooth whitening lightens the colour of a tooth. Tooth whitening can be achieved by either changing the intrinsic colour of the tooth or by removing and controlling the formation of extrinsic stains. A dental hygienist can help with the staining on the outside of the teeth. Only a dentist is allowed to change the internal colour of teeth.
Hydrogen peroxide is used to lighten the internal colour of the teeth and to make the teeth whiter in the process.
There are 2 main ways of doing this:
At-home kit. The at-home kit comprises bleaching gel with little covers that fit over the teeth. By sleeping with the covers and gel for a few weeks, the teeth get lighter over a gradual period. This is a very controlled way of doing whitening as the teeth get a little lighter every day and you can stop when you are happy with the shade.
In-office whitening: With this procedure the gel gets applied by your dentist in the dental chair. A laser light is shone onto the gel to accelerate the process of teeth whitening. It is also recommended to use the home kit after the ‘in-office’ procedure to help lock in the shade.
Tooth whitening has no negative effect on the teeth if it is done under supervision of a dentist. Some people do find their teeth could become sensitive during the procedure but it returns to normal at the end of treatment.