Why do it?
Teeth whitening is one of the most popular dental care services. In many ways, a shining smile is a must for good relationships, both professional and personal. White teeth make you look attractive and can significantly improve the quality of life in general. However, there are lots of factors, which cause teeth to darken. This can be tooth decay resulting from improper care. Also, some foods and smoking cause tooth enamel to discolor. Finally, teeth tend to grow darker as we age.
Both in-office and at-home teeth whitening require complex preparation. There should be no cavities, cracks or decayed areas, through which the chemicals would otherwise penetrate into the tissue and cause serious pain.
Types of tooth whitening
There are several teeth whitening techniques. It is strongly recommended to address a dentist to choose a method that will work better in your individual case.
Bleaching involves a number of complex procedures and using strong agents, which can be provided by a professional dentist only. In-office whitening involves the use of a gel that contains hydrogen peroxide. The dentist will apply the substance directly to the tooth enamel. Oxygen from the peroxide binds with the dental pigment and whitens the enamel. The procedure lasts 30 to 60 minutes. To apply the substance directly to teeth, the dentist will provide a custom-made plastic tray filled with the substance and fix it on the patient’s teeth. Later, this procedure can carried out at home for a period of time as recommended by the dentist.
Ultrasonic teeth whitening is another in-office method that can also be used as a kind of hygiene. The dentist applies ultrasound to stained areas and thus removes stains, dental deposits, bacteria, etc. After that, the dentist applies a fluorine paste for better protection.
Light-activated whitening requires the use of a gel containing hydrogen peroxide. The dentist covers the teeth with the gel and applies UV light to catalyze the oxidation process. When the procedure is completed, the dentist applies a fluorine polish to enhance protection.
Laser teeth whitening is similar to ultrasonic and light-activated, except that a laser beam is used. However, it is more effective and less time-taking. The whole procedure lasts 20 to 30 minutes. Laser whitening is more expensive.
How long does the effect last?
No matter how noticeable the effect is, it will not last forever. In most cases, procedures have to be repeated after 3 to 6 months.
Do not expect too much!
If you are expecting perfectly white teeth, it is not unlikely that the result will disappoint you. No teeth whitening technique can make your teeth whiter than they are by nature! As a rule, teeth have a natural shade of yellow or gray.
Active agents, such as hydrogen peroxide, can penetrate deep into the dental tissue. Therefore, all these methods make teeth more sensitive to hot/cold food and drinks. In most cases, the effect fades after a while. Other side effects are caused by allergic reactions to agents used during teeth whitening procedures.
The methods described above are not recommended if you have tooth decay, cracks, exposed roots, and poorly applied fillings. Prior to going through a procedure, make sure you have no untreated dental issues (periodontitis, etc.) Teeth whitening is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women.