Obviously, not everyone’s teeth are naturally sparkling white. But nowadays it’s nothing to get upset about! Teeth whitening can help, and it’s certainly become one of the most popular dental cosmetic procedures. It’s offered as a professional treatment typically done in the dental office and as at-home whitening kits that you can get in any drugstore. Below, Leesa Ilienko, an Arctic Dental Hygiene representative, speaks about teeth whitening.
What affects the color of enamel?
Besides genetic factors, the enamel discoloration is caused by various natural and artificial dyes contained in foods (i.e. beets, dark berries, red wine) and especially coffee, tea, and cigarettes.
Is teeth whitening for everyone?
Definitely, not everyone is an ideal candidate for teeth whitening. The reasons are teeth sensitivity, open cavities, enamel microcracks, periodontal disease, loose teeth, etc. Also, if there are fillings and crowns on the front teeth, then the contrast of shades may be noticeable after whitening.
Can I do it myself?
Whitening is a serious procedure that requires a detailed examination of the entire oral cavity which can only be carried out by a specialist. Often, you may not be aware of serious current or potential problems with your teeth or gums. That is why we do not recommend using at-home teeth whitening products. It can be done but only after consulting a specialist.
What products are used for professional teeth whitening?
To understand the whitening process, you can draw some analogy between hair bleaching using hydrogen peroxide and teeth whitening using either peroxide or carbamide-peroxide systems (the latter is preferred as it’s less traumatic for the tooth enamel).
Typically, when it comes to teeth whitening dental specialists use gels with a high content of these active ingredients (22% or higher). First, a dentist examines the patient’s teeth and considers the patient’s preferences (for example, the degree of whitening). Then, whitening gel with the appropriate concentration of carbamide or hydrogen peroxide is selected and applied. The cost of the procedure largely depends on the chosen whitening product. Also, prior to whitening, professional teeth cleaning is required such as removing plaque and tartar, treatment of interdental spaces, polishing teeth, applying strengthening enamel fluoride.
Many people complain about increased teeth sensitivity after whitening.
It’s true, the teeth whitening procedure may be accompanied by unpleasant and even painful sensations. This happens due to chemicals in whitening agents. They make enamel porous and irritate nerves of the teeth, increasing the sensitivity.
To reduce discomfort, immediately after the procedure, the dental specialist performs a special treatment to address sensitivity and provides detailed instructions to continue following at home to achieve the best final result.
How long do the effects of the teeth whitening last?
Each patient has unique dentin color and enamel thickness, so the whitening effect will be different. In average, it lasts a year or more, depending on the diet – coffee, wine, cigarettes, and other similar products eventually deteriorate the color. A dental specialist will provide you with advice on the diet as well as proper care of your teeth – to maintain maximum whiteness with minimal sensitivity.
In conclusion, teeth whitening can be effective and safe, and can help your smile really shine! Just remember to consult a specialist and follow their instructions afterward – it is crucial in order to achieve and, more importantly, to maintain a bright, healthy smile!
ARCTIC DENTAL HYGIENE