At-home treatments aren't as effective as office whitening because the chemicals used aren't as strong. They're only designed to remove surface stains. On the other hand, professional whitening agents are more powerful and have the ability to clean better and deeper down.
The procedure is conducted in the office, or a weaker form of the bleach gel may be given to the patient to take home. The dentist will professionally clean the teeth to remove food, bacteria, and other particles from the teeth. Next, if the whitening is done in the office, a protective layer is applied. The dentist then applies the chemical on the teeth. Usually, it's a substance consisting of hydrogen peroxide. Once applied, the dentist may use a laser or a specialized light to activate the chemical to perform its job. If the patient performs the procedure at home, the dentist will send the gel and a whitening tray home with special instructions that the patient must follow.
Generally, the procedure takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. When conducted in the office, the procedure may take one to three visits to see full results. When the gel is given to take home, the patient will need to apply the gel once each day for up to three weeks.
The two main types of whitening agents are vital whitening and non-vital whitening. The dentist performs the vital whitening on a live tooth. The dentist uses a non-vital whitening agent on a tooth without a pulp, which is one that's had a root canal performed on it.
The whitener works on patients who have teeth with stains caused by using tobacco, consuming alcoholic beverages or eating dark-colored substances. The aging process naturally darkens teeth, which whitening can assist with.
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