Do you think that your smile is lacking some sparkle or you feel that your teeth are getting yellowish? Then, teeth whitening can be what you’re looking for.
What Is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is a dental cosmetic procedure, which removes stains and discoloration from your teeth. It is also called tooth whitening or dental bleaching. It is a very effective and popular way of lightening the natural color of your teeth without harming any of the tooth surfaces.
This technique can help you obtain a brighter smile. The procedure is the most popular dental cosmetic since it makes your smile and looks better, improves your appearance and boosts your confidence.
Who Are the Candidates?
Anyone who suffers from teeth staining caused by several reasons is suitable for teeth whitening.
Am I Suitable for Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening procedure is not recommended for people who had previous dental operations such as dental crowns, veneers, bridges or fillings. If your gums have pulled away from the teeth in some places, whitening may cause irritation in these areas. Or having a tooth condition which is needed to be treated such as tooth decay or gum disease should be prioritized before teeth whitening treatment.
People who consume an excessive amount of tobacco or alcohol cannot take advantage of this procedure since these substances can produce new stains in a short period. Individuals who have stains caused by medications such as antibiotics should not consider teeth whitening as a solution, either.
Pregnant women are recommended to postpone teeth whitening after pregnancy as the side effects of whitening or bleaching procedure, in this case, are not well known.
Preparing for Teeth Whitening
The reasons for discoloration might be identified by a dentist. Your dentist may examine your health and dental history to provide you with the most effective solution. For example, if the stains are made as a result of smoking, the person needs to stop smoking. In addition, the dentist may clean your teeth from germs and food remnants before the whitening process.
How Are Teeth Whitening Treatments Performed?
Teeth whitening is not a complicated procedure, and it has low risks. It is also known as dental bleaching or tooth whitening, and there are small differences between them. Whitening only brings back the natural color of your teeth, while bleaching makes them brighter than their natural color.
There are three general categories of teeth whitening methods:
• Performing by your dentist
• Dispensing by your dentist and using at home
• Buying the products from a provider or making at home without the oversight of your dentist
You may choose a certain method for teeth whitening based on one or more factors such as the type of discoloration you have or the cost you need to pay.
Methods of Teeth Whitening Or Bleaching
There are two main methods of teeth whitening: vital whitening and non-vital whitening. Vital whitening is applied on live nerves, while non-vital whitening is applied on a tooth which has had root canals dental treatment before.
Vital teeth whitening can be performed in your home or a dental office. In the office, the dentist can use a stronger whitening gel.
In this method, the dentist applies a protective solution to the patient’s gums, which protects them during the teeth whitening process. Then the special whitening solution is applied on the teeth. The solution usually contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. This breaks the stains into smaller pieces, which changes the color of enamel. This procedure is more effective when the teeth have yellowish coloration than grayish or darker coloration. It can get teeth brighter faster. The bleaching solution which your dentist uses is usually much stronger than at-home kits.
Sometimes the Dentist May Use A Specialized Laser or Light to Accelerate the Process
Laser whitening is another type of teeth whitening procedure that a dentist may use. In the laser whitening, your dentist paints onto your teeth with a bleaching product, and then a light of the laser is used to activate the whitening. This technique takes about an hour.
At – Home Whitening
At-home whitening procedure can be performed with the help of special gels, toothpaste, rinses, chewing gums and other natural methods. The Dentist will give you a teeth-whitening-kit which includes a special gel. The gel contains carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, which have whitening effects on your teeth. They should be applied daily for two to three weeks. You should follow the instructions carefully. When the instructions of manufacturer and dentist are followed, hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide based tooth whitening are safe and effective.
The natural method is using malic acid, which is found in apples and apple juices and has whitening effects. Excessive consumption of acidic beverages can dissolve the enamel layer so it should be used wisely.
Most of the time you get almost the same result after each teeth-whitening procedure. Depend on the procedure, and the period can vary. While you can get a brighter smile in hours in an office of teeth whitening professional, you need weeks to get the same results at home.
What Causes Teeth Stains?
• Food and Beverages
Tea, coffee, and red wine are the most popular staining factors. They have some intense color pigments in them which cause stains on the enamel surface.
• Tobacco Use
The two chemicals, tar, and nicotine within tobacco can cause stains on teeth. While tar’s color is naturally dark, nicotine is colorless unless it is mixed with oxygen.
In time, enamel, which is the white shell of teeth, gets thinner and the yellowish part called dentin, becomes more visible.
• Antibiotics and Other Drugs
Antibiotics have tetracycline and doxycycline in them. These materials cause permanent stains on teeth. Also, discoloration of teeth can be a side effect of some drugs or antipsychotics. Teeth whitening process doesn’t work on these kinds of stains.
There are some other factors causing stains. The list can include:
• Natural aging process
• Poor dental care
• Dental trauma
• Enamel hypoplasia
The Side Effects and Risks of Teeth Whitening
Even though teeth whitening or bleaching complications are uncommon, your teeth may get sensitive to very hot or cold temperatures for a short time after treatment. It may also cause gums irritation for a few days. If those kinds of side effects do not leave in a few days after treatment, you need to see your dentist.
Operation Time and Recovery
The operation takes between 30 and 60 minutes, and it doesn’t require any recovery period. You can turn back to your daily life, and you can travel by plane and go to work immediately after the process is done.
How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?
The cheapest teeth whitening price is €85, but it can go as high as €550. The reason is that the prices vary from country to country — average teeth whitening costs €243, based on a study made on the price list of 30 clinics. The clinics charge almost the same prices for laser teeth whitening as well.
For instance, dental clinics in Poland charge minimum €107 for teeth whitening, and it starts from €150 in Turkey, and they also provide one of the best teeth whitening results. The prices for the same procedure might go up to €290 in U.K.
Teeth Whitening Is Not A Permanent Process
After your teeth whitening procedure you should watch out what you consume, otherwise you will need to repeat the treatment in a short period of time. If you frequently smoke or drink red wine, tea or coffee, the whitening effect won't last long, because they cause stain your teeth as we explained before.
In order to maintain a brighter smile, try to use a straw when you drink beverages and avoid certain aliments that produce teeth staining. One of the most effective ways to improve the color of your teeth is to avoid or quit smoking.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in April 2019.