In recent times, people have become increasingly concerned with the shade of their smile. I mean, who could blame them? Celebrities constantly flaunt their pearly whites in front of photographers, whose photos end up in public hands. Fortunately, those of us lacking pearly white smiles can turn to teeth whitening for a dramatic transformation.
Teeth whitening or tooth bleaching refers to the same procedure in cosmetic dentistry. Recent studies have indicated that teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure in the world. Most people in society find white smiles utterly attractive, hence why many are more than ready to spend several hundred if not several thousands of dollars to improve the look of their smile.
As children, most of us had white teeth. Unfortunately, as one grows up and sheds their baby teeth, their smile begins to dim in color. The darkening effect is exasperated as our teeth undergo mineral restructuring and changes in enamel porosity. When combined with our eating and oral hygiene habits (or lack thereof), it’s anything but surprising to see why our teeth lose their white glow.
The teeth whitening procedure utilizes various chemicals to bring out the radiant glow of our teeth. Whitening kits typically make use of hydrogen or carbamide peroxide to help the teeth regain their white appearance. These two chemicals, referred to as oxidizing agents, make their way into the teeth (via the porous enamel) and proceed to erase stains. The bleaching agents can even make their way into the dentin, bleaching it as well. Despite popular belief, the bleaching effect does not permanently linger. Those who undergo a whitening procedure should expect their teeth to return to their normal shade within several months. Keep in mind, the return to a more natural shade could be expedited by your eating habits. You can often opt to go in for follow-up appointments to have your teeth re-whitened, thus enabling you to maintain your white smile.
Those wishing to have their teeth whitened can elect to either visit a cosmetic dentist or purchase an at-home whitening kit. Teeth whitening performed in a dentist’s office typically entails the application of a bleaching agent on the teeth for a limited amount of time. This time can range anywhere from half and hour to an hour. Many patients are asked to sit under a special light, which activates the bleaching agent. The use of a light can also expedite the teeth whitening process. Before the bleaching process gets underway, a dentist applies a special protective substance to the gums to protect them from the bleaching agent. As we’ve mentioned above, the cosmetic dentist can choose to use either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the bleaching agent. The former will eventually transform into hydrogen peroxide while inside the mouth. The usual whitening gel contains either thirty-five percent carbamide peroxide or around ten percent hydrogen peroxide.
Take home teeth whitening kits are considerably less powerful than in-office procedures. Most kits either come with application strips or a mouthguard that is meant to be lined with the bleaching agent. Instead of being applied for an hour or less, those who purchase an at-home kit are expected to keep the gel applied to their teeth for a few hours a day (for one or two weeks). This should give the weaker bleaching agent sufficient time to make its way into the enamel. People using take home kits need not be concerned over gum damage with their kits. The take home teeth whitening kits often contain far too small amounts of hydrogen peroxide to cause any damage to the gums. For more information anglesea dentist
As with other procedures, results with at-home teeth whitening kits have been known to vary. Some have reported seeing results in as little as a few days. Others report seeing minimalist results, even after pursuing the treatment for its entire duration.
Most dentists recommend in-office treatments as over the counter products are lacking in several areas. For one, the mouthguard or strips are limited in their ability to adequately surround the teeth. Thus, there is a potential chance that some parts of the teeth may remain unbleached. Those that are set on an at-home procedure should consult their local cosmetic dentist’s office to see whether they offer custom whitening kits. These kits tend to perform better than store-bought treatments.
Bleaching treatments tend to be successful in whitening a patient’s teeth. However, one should remember not to have exorbitant expectations. Some stains simply won’t go away, no matter how many bleaching treatments you undergo. Further, staining caused by some sources (such as antibiotic treatments) may require longer treatment to give the bleaching agent ample time to reach the location of the stain. People with some pre-existing dental conditions (whitespots, dental caries, etc.) may respond poorly to whitening treatments. Trials have shown that those with yellow teeth respond best to whitening treatments.
While mostly safe, teeth whitening does have its risks. For one, a patient may suffer from burns and increased sensitivity. The latter is merely temporary and should subside as irritation in the gums settles. Please be aware that over-use of whitening treatments can cause increased sensitivity and can also lead to enamel damage. At-home kits tend to be the culprit of enamel damage.
Those with dental conditions (such as sensitive teeth, gum problems, etc.) should first consult their general dentists before undergoing any sort of whitening procedure. Likewise, those allergic to peroxide should also veer clear of whitening treatments. For more information
Not everyone is a candidate for teeth whitening. Women who are pregnant should wait until after giving birth to get their teeth whitened. Children under the age of sixteen are also ill-advised to undergo whitening treatment. Children this young could sustain pulp damage from such a procedure.
Please be aware that whitening will not affect the color of most dental restorations (veneers, crowns, etc.). It can, however, reverse darkening due to staining. However, it can slightly impact the color of restorative pieces manufactured of a composite-like material (composite fillings, etc.).
Most dental professionals (as do we) recommend prospective teeth whitening patients consult with their general dentists before undergoing a teeth whitening procedure. While tooth bleaching is not a very dangerous procedure, it’s always best to be safe.