Over time, our teeth can become discolored and stained. Tooth discoloration can be caused by a combination of factors,. Professional teeth whitening is a safe and effective way to remove stains from your teeth and to brighten your smile. In fact, teeth whitening when performed by a dental professional carries very few risks and side effects. If you are considering teeth whitening, here’s some more things you can expect in addition to a great smile.
Who’s considered a candidate for teeth whitening?
Those that will benefit most from tooth whitening include; tea and coffee drinkers, tobacco users, and those with stains acquired by dietary habits. These stains appear more yellow, sometimes yellow/brown. These stains occur on the outermost surface of the tooth and are easiest to lighten and remove. However, heavy smokers, frequent coffee, and tea drinkers are less likely to achieve good results unless they are willing to discontinue the habit while enduring the whitening process. If discontinuing use of these substances is not something you can commit to the desensitizing gel can be used post whitening to act as a temporary sealant blocking the pores of the tooth. However, there is still a slight risk of the substances seeping in and restaining the tooth.
Those with intrinsic stains will require more applications than the average person. Intrinsic stains are those stains that rest below the surface of the enamel. Intrinsic stains appear grayish or grey-brown and require more applications because that the gel must pass through the pores of the enamel and into the dentin. Gray is the most difficult color to remove from tooth tissue. Satisfactory results from whitening are not unreachable, but it will require more dedication and patience.
How does teeth whitening work?
Whitening involves applying bleach solutions to the teeth. The bleach attacks the highly colored organic molecules that lodge between the crystals of tooth enamel (the outermost tooth covering) or in the dentin (the tooth material under the enamel). It’s these organic particles that give the teeth a stained appearance. For surface stains, the solution is left on the teeth usually for 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the method used. For internal stains on non-living teeth that have had root canal work, the bleach might be sealed inside the tooth. The bleaching process continues until these organic particles are rendered colorless. Bleaching works best on yellowish stains and even some brown stains, but may not work at all on gray discoloration. It’s important to keep in mind that bonding material and fillings cannot be whitened with bleach. If you have these restorations in your mouth, you should consider how your teeth will look if the natural parts become whiter and the bonding stays the same.
What teeth whitening options are there?
Whitening methods range from powerful gels that can only be applied by a professional to lower-dose products you can use at home. In general, professional treatments will achieve quicker results but will also be more expensive.
- Professional Teeth Whitening— This process involves the use of high-concentration whitening gels that are not available over the counter, as they would be less safe or less predictable if used at home.
- In-Office Whitening Systems— Your dentist will apply a gel to your teeth and leave it on for about an hour. A heat or light source (sometimes a laser) may be used during the process to increase the bleaching action.
- Take-Home Whitening— Your dentist will give you custom-made mouth trays made of thin, flexible plastic that you will fill with whitening gel and then leave on your teeth for a prescribed period of time.
- Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening— These products contain lower concentrations of bleach but can be effective over time if used as directed.
- Whitening Strips— These resemble clear adhesive bandages that are stuck onto the teeth and left there usually for 30 minutes at a time, twice a day for a week or two.
- Brush-On Whitening— These gels are painted directly onto the teeth with a small brush and sometimes left overnight.
- Whitening Gum— If you are already a habitual gum-chewer, you might want to try this relatively new form of whitening. You may need to chew up to eight pieces a day to see results.
- Whitening Toothpastes— remove surface stains and plaque with special chemical or polishing agents. Unlike bleaches, they do not change the actual color of teeth.
What can i expect after professional teeth whitening?
You may experience increased sensitivity for 1-2 days following your whitening procedure. This discomfort is due to the active ingredient in teeth whitening, hydrogen peroxide; and is mild and temporary. For most patients, this sensitivity is easily managed by avoiding hot or cold food and drinks, or by taking over-the-counter pain medication. If you have sensitive teeth prior to treatment, you are more likely to experience discomfort after the procedure. If you’re concerned about discomfort, you may consider your dentist’s take-home whitening treatment, as it contains less hydrogen peroxide.
Additionally, your gums may appear slightly discolored or may sting for a few hours after treatment, but there is no need for alarm. This discomfort will dissipate shortly and you should be fully healed in 1-2 days following treatment.
Taking Care of Your Whitened Smile
The effects of whitened teeth can last for anywhere from 4 months to 1 year. It depends on the consumption of food, drinks and tobacco as well as the condition of your teeth. Consuming too much coffee and tea also hasten the discoloration process. When undergoing teeth whitening treatment, practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly. There are a few important things you can do to guarantee long lasting whitening results. Even though these may vary from case to case, a conscientious routine of flossing and brushing has to be practiced on a daily basis.
Who’s not considered a candidate for teeth whitening?
Whitening is not recommended for people who experience chronic sensitivity, periodontal disease, oral cancer, or excessively worn and damaged enamel. Teeth that appear translucent may worsen with each whitening application and should be discontinued upon notice.
It is recommended that cavities be treated, and gums are healthy before any whitening procedure is considered.
Cost of teeth whitening treatment
The total cost of teeth whitening treatment varies depending on the following factors: the duration of your whitening treatment, the dentist chosen for the treatment, the type of whitening procedure chosen, etc. However, the type of whitening procedure chosen is the major factor that determines the cost of the whitening treatment