The White Way
Different options to teeth whitening
Sometimes a boost in your self confidence can be just a matter of bleaching your teeth. Although purely an aesthetic thing and not a significant health issue, many people nowadays go for teeth bleaching because white and gleaming teeth can have a great impact on a person’s self-esteem and social well-being.
Teeth whitening is part of cosmetic
dentistry wherein stains are removed from the teeth for a cleaner and whiter appearance. The most common causes of teeth staining, whether extrinsic stain or intrinsic, are one’s diet, genes, use of medications and substances and lifestyle. Among the foods and beverages known to cause heavy staining are coffee, red wine, cherries, grape or blueberry juice, soy sauce, and curry. Smoking also causes heavy staining.
From over-the-counter whitening toothpastes and gels, to in-clinic treatment, there are many teeth whitening options being offered today.
In-clinic teeth bleaching
In-clinic teeth whitening is performed by the dentist in the dental clinic. High concentrations of peroxide are applied on the teeth for several sessions. It is normally done in one hour at the most. But in a short period of time, this treatment gives noticeable results. However, be ready to shell out more money as this can be abit expensive.
Teeth whitening trays and gels
Teeth whitening trays and gels can be bought from your dentist or over the counter. Teeth whitening trays and gels can be effective, but unlike the in-clinic procedure, it may take longer to achieve the desired effect. Depending on the strength of peroxide in the gel, these clear trays could take anywhere from three days to a couple of weeks before any results
Whitening toothpastes contain mild abrasives to remove surface stains. Although not designed to actually “bleach” your teeth, they help fight against stains. Whitening toothpastes can lighten your teeth’s color by about one shade, while whitening treatments done in your dentist’s clinic can go up to eight shades lighter.
Whitening strips are made of a thin, flexible piece of plastic that fits onto
your teeth. Teeth whitening strips have two sides, one which is coated in a bleaching formula that will whiten your teeth and one which is stuck to the outside of your teeth. Initial results are seen in a few days and final results are sustained for about four months. Just like with whitening toothpaste, it may take longer to achieve the desired results with teeth whitening strips.
Teeth whitening is ideal for patients who have healthy teeth and gums. However, dentists do not recommend this aesthetic procedure to the following:
Children under the age of 16. This is because the pulp chamber, or nerve of the tooth, is enlarged until this age. Teeth whitening under this condition could irritate the pulp or cause it to become sensitive.
Pregnant or lactating women. Hormone changes during and soon after pregnancy which often affect gum tissue, leading to a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis”—swollen, tender, and sometimes bleeding gums. The bleach in tooth whiteners can aggravate this condition.
With sensitive teeth. Individuals with sensitive teeth and gums, receding gums and/or defective restorations should consult with their dentist prior to using a tooth whitening system. Anyone allergic to peroxide (the whitening agent) should not use a bleaching product.
With gum disease, tooth cavities, and exposed roots. Cavities need to be treated before undergoing any whitening procedure. This is because the whitening solutions penetrate into any existing decay and the inner areas of the tooth, which can cause sensitivity. Also, whitening procedures will not work on exposed tooth roots because roots do not have an enamel layer.
With tooth fillings, crowns and other restorations. Tooth-colored fillings and resin composite materials used in dental restorations do not whiten. Therefore, using a whitening agent on teeth that do and do not contain restorations will results in uneven whitening-in this case, making the teeth without restorations appear lighter than those with restorations.
By Maripet L. Poso