Professional teeth whitening is a treatment aimed at lightening the color of the teeth to make them whiter. The effectiveness of professional teeth whitening can vary depending on several factors, including the type of whitening used, the severity of the stains on the teeth, and the patient’s habits after treatment.

Professional teeth whitening can produce significant results, leading to a considerable reduction of stains and an improvement in the appearance of the teeth. However, it is important to understand that results can vary from person to person.

There are different techniques for professional teeth whitening, including in-office treatment with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, and at-home treatment using whitening kits prescribed by the dentist. Both methods can produce satisfactory results, but in-office treatment tends to be quicker and more effective.

It is important to note that teeth whitening is not permanent and may require periodic touch-ups to maintain the desired results. Additionally, not all types of dental stains respond well to whitening. For example, stains caused by damage to the internal structure of the tooth or by certain diseases may be more difficult to treat successfully.

Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect associated with teeth whitening, whether performed in the dental office or at home. During the whitening process, teeth may become temporarily more sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure.

This occurs because whitening products, such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, penetrate the outer layers of tooth enamel and can temporarily irritate the dental pulp, which contains sensitive nerves.

However, it is important to emphasize that the tooth sensitivity caused by whitening is usually temporary and disappears within a few days or weeks after treatment. Additionally, today’s whitening products are formulated to minimize sensitivity and provide a better experience for patients.

To reduce sensitivity during and after teeth whitening, the dentist may recommend several measures, including:

  • Using a whitening gel with an appropriate and controlled peroxide concentration to avoid excessive sensitization of the teeth.
  • Using a desensitizing dental enamel before, during, or after treatment to reduce sensitivity.
  • Avoiding hot or cold drinks and foods immediately after treatment.
  • Avoiding acidic foods and drinks that could temporarily increase sensitivity.
  • Using a desensitizing toothpaste recommended by the dentist to relieve sensitivity.

The FDI encourages dental professionals to consider the following aspects during whitening treatment:

  • Patient assessment: The dentist should perform a comprehensive patient evaluation, including clinical history, oral examination, and identification of the causes of dental stains or discoloration. This helps determine if the patient is a suitable candidate for teeth whitening and to customize the treatment based on individual needs.
  • Treatment options: The FDI advises that dentists discuss with patients the available treatment options for teeth whitening, including different methods such as in-office whitening and at-home whitening kits. Professionals should provide clear information about the benefits, risks, and realistic expectations for each option.
  • Safety and protection of soft tissues: During whitening treatment, the FDI emphasizes the importance of protecting the surrounding soft tissues, such as gums and oral mucosa, to avoid irritation or damage. Appropriate isolation techniques, such as using a gingival barrier, can be recommended to protect the tissues.
  • Monitoring and follow-up: The FDI advises dentists to carefully monitor the patient during and after the whitening treatment to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and manage any side effects such as sensitivity. Patients should be informed on how to manage post-treatment sensitivity, and appropriate follow-up appointments should be scheduled.

It is advisable to consult your dentist to evaluate the feasibility of professional teeth whitening, discuss realistic expectations, and obtain personalized treatment based on individual needs.