Bleaching that is done in the clinic, where immediate results are expected is called power bleaching. Power bleaching often uses hydrogen peroxide, an activating light or laser, and also requires a rubber dam or tissue dam to be placed to protect the gums.
The main advantages of the power bleaching technique are:
- The time factor – produces immediate results in the clinic, which means your teeth get whiter straight away rather than taking a few weeks; and
- Avoiding problems with home bleaching procedures such as:
- Wearing trays that may cause you to gag; and
- May give you a bad taste in your mouth.
Disadvantages of power bleaching include:
- The high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide makes protecting your gums really important and our dentist has experience in this area;
- Dehydration of teeth that results after power bleaching will cause the teeth to look whiter immediately following power bleaching and most likely your teeth will become slightly darker over the next couple of weeks due to bad nutrition habit, and type of food you are eating.
The safety of the bleach used in power bleaching has been shown to have no proven adverse effects on the enamel or dentine, that is, it is perfectly safe for your teeth.
Hydrogen peroxide is more widely used as the power bleaching agent, but the concentration will vary from dentist to dentist, and the times used for the bleaching will vary as well.
The generalized procedure for power bleaching is:
- The dentist first conducts a full clinical examination and determines the cause of the discoloration. It should be decided if bleaching is the best method treatment for this patient, for example, perhaps veneers and crowns may be a better alternative (fix the dental problem before beaching preferable).
- The dentist will take photographs before your whitening treatment so that you may compare it with the end result.
- External stains will be removed using a polishing paste.
- Lip retractors and cotton will be placed in your mouth to protect the gums and the inside of your lips and cheeks.
- Further protection is provided by gauze and cotton wool that the dentist places in your mouth.
- Depending on the type of power bleaching procedure used, or the dentist’s particular preference, there will be something used to protect the gums completely by isolating the teeth being whitened. These include:
- Rubber dam – which is often a piece of latex that is put around all the teeth which are going to get whitened. A rubber dam cannot be used when top and bottom teeth are bleached.
- Tissue dam – this is a painted on white material that protects the gums and allows both top and bottom teeth to be isolated for bleaching.
- Bleaching cycle: the bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth.
Note: premixed agents including powder and liquid combination.
- Sometimes a light source or a laser source is placed onto the tooth to help activate the bleaching agent.
- The gel is left in place from 3-20 minutes depending on the concentration of hydrogen peroxide.
- Following that time, the dentist will wash away the gel and then gently air dry them. You may feel some sensitivity at this stage.
- The cycle will be repeated 2-5 times, depending on each system. Unfortunately, the sensitivity will might get worse after each application depends on lips and gum types.
- After the bleaching is completed, the equipment is removed from your mouth, and at this stage the dentist will check your mouth for any irritations from the bleaching agent.
- Areas of damage will be washed copiously with water, and Vitamin E or bicarbonate soda is usually applied to these areas.
- Most people will usually have some degree of sensitivity at this stage, and a fluoride or potassium nitrate containing toothpaste can be used to minimize the discomfort for you.
- At this stage, the final pictures and shade will be recorded by the dentist, and you will be shown how much improvement has occurred. The amount your teeth whiten varies from person to person, but you should be able to see a difference.
- You will be advised about the following things after the appointment and you should take careful note of them:
- For sensitivity, you should use a fluoride gel or potassium nitrate containing toothpaste.
- Avoid acidic drinks, fruits, tea, coffee and smoking for 48 hours.
- The shade often gets slightly darker within a week to ten days.
- Information on home bleaching will be given to you, and this is strongly recommended otherwise your teeth will most likely get darker.
Sometimes Gum whitening cannot be avoidable in power bleaching, even can be reduced to minimum by good isolation set by the dentist (using the rubber dam or tissue dam). It is difficult to avoid gum irritation completely but can minimize it. .