19 October 2019

What is teeth whitening, and is it safe?

What Is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is an extremely efficient method of lightening the natural tooth colour without any surface removal. This won't lead to a complete change in colour, but it definitely lightens the shade. There are multiple reasons why you might want to whiten your teeth. Just the way hair and skin colour vary from person to person, so does our teeth. There are very few people we have come across who have brilliantly white and toned teeth. Your teeth staining can also be caused by food and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine, and blackcurrant. Smoking is also one of the significant reasons behind tooth staining. There are individuals who have under the surface staining, which can be caused by certain antibiotics or maybe a result of tiny cracks in the teeth.

Reasons Behind The Change In Tooth Color

Along with passing years and growing age, your teeth colour can change from clean white to not-so-white; following are the reasons simplified-

FOOD & DRINK: drinks like coffee, tea & red wine have strong pigments called chromogens that get stuck on the natural colour of your teeth and can lead to stains.

TOBACCO USE: chemicals found in tobacco result in stubborn stains. These chemicals are tar and nicotine.

AGE: the outer shell of your enamel is called Dentin. This is a softer area, and overtime gets thinner due to brushing.

TRAUMA: if you've been hurt on your tooth, it will certainly change colour as it responds to any injury placing more and more Dentin, which is a darker layer.

MEDICATIONS: the darkening of your teeth can be an outcome of certain antihistamines, antipsychotics, or due to medications related to high blood pressure. Young children exposed to antibiotics may have tooth discolouration. Treatments like chemotherapy and head & neck radiation can also lead to dark teeth.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Tooth whitening is a simple process, and the whitening products contain one among the two bleaches, namely, hydrogen peroxide & carbamide peroxide. These bleach perform the task of breaking down stains into smaller pieces, which would eventually result in less concentration of colour, and make the teeth look brighter.

It is essential to talk to your dentist prior to making a decision of whitening your teeth; this is so because whiteners may not correct all types of teeth. For instance, people who have yellow teeth can go for it, on the other hand, brown teeth may not respond well to it, and teeth with grey tones may not bleach at all. Further whitening does not act on caps, veneers, crowns, or fillings. There are few more exceptions like discoloration caused due to medication and injury.

How Long Does This Take?

The entire procedure of teeth whitening treatment can last up to three to four weeks. Firstly you will need two or three visits, and then the dental team will take the impression and prepare a mouthguard for you. Once the dental team starts performing, you need to take measures back at home for effective results, which refers to applying the whitening product that has been prescribed, regularly over two to four weeks for around 30 min- 1hr in a go. Not only this, there are few more products which can be used for up to 8hrs, resulting in a satisfactory outcome in just a week.

What Options Do We Have?

It is always prescribed to talk to your dentist before starting any treatments. However, if you are a candidate, you have four ways to bring back that sparkling smile back:

Stain removal toothpaste- These help in the removal of stain through mild action of abrasives that scrub the teeth.

In-office bleaching-This process requires only a single visit to the dentist & is also known as chairside bleaching.

3. At-home bleaching from the dentist- In this process, you are going to be provided with a customized tray by your dentist for home & all you need to do is follow the instructions given by your dentist on how to place your bleaching solution. This process may take a while.

4. Over the counter bleaching products- These include different products available online or in grocery shops, such as toothpaste or strips that whiten your teeth.

Does Tooth Whitening Inflict Any Side Effect?

People may realize that their teeth have become sensitive or sore to cold during or after the treatment or whitening. There may be chances of discomfort in gums, sore throat, or further lead to white patches on the gum line. These symptoms usually disappear within a few days of treatment.

If there are any cases of side effects continuing, one should positively see his/her dentist at the latest.