Teeth whitening refers to the process that lightens the color of the teeth. It is often the preferred treatment modality when teeth gets discolored over a period of time. A number of reasons such as smoking, excessive consumption of caffeine/red wine, or poor oral maintenance could result in surface stains to teeth. Healthy teeth could also experience this condition as a part of the natural aging process.
The active ingredient in most whitening products is hydrogen peroxide, a chemical compound that effectively bleaches teeth. Teeth whitening can be achieved at your dentist’s clinic or at your own residence. If you opt for the later, you will be given custom-made trays by your dental healthcare provider or you could also use over-the-counter (OTC) whitening strips procured from your local drugstore.
More severe or complex stains are best lightened professionally than at home. Between the two, there is a difference in the typical amount of active bleaching agent present in the formula. Hydrogen peroxide creeps into your tooth’s outermost layer enamel, reacts chemically with the chromogens and disintegrate the discolored molecules, thereby completing the dental whitening process of your teeth.
Drugstore formulations typically contains less than 10% hydrogen peroxide, so they are weaker bleaching agents compared to professional modalities which contain higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and thereby comes with a stronger whitening potential.
The desire for having sparkling smile has been present throughout ages. Since smile and teeth are the most prominent details of our face, it goes without saying that a beautiful smile with clean white teeth will leave a lasting impression with other people.
The primary goal of dental teeth whitening is to aid in intensifying the hue of your natural teeth by several shades thereby giving it a whitening effect. This results in surefire boost in your self-confidence for your daily socializing or for any special occasions (weddings etc.)
$150 to $300
• Gives you a more confident approach to day-to-day chores of life
• Smile makeover due to whitened teeth that adds to your face value aesthetics
• Dentist-assisted teeth whitening procedures presents remarkable teeth whitening results in just a short span of time compared to the drugstore formulations
• Excellent results obtained for treating external tooth surface stains caused by food products or by intake of tobacco.
• There is least probability of complications
• No lag phase or interruptions required during the treatment
• Whitening modalities are commercially available within easy reach at all price ranges and thus are the affordable options for one and all.
It is important to note that as long as your treatment is carried out by a dental health care professional, it will be safe. Nevertheless, teeth whitening could have some side effects such as following –
• Whitening agent can predispose teeth to be more sensitive, most probably during the first 2 days post-operatively.
• Limited degree of whitening effect on greyish stains caused by accidental tooth injury or internal discoloration caused by chronic intake of certain medicaments.
• Whitening agents do not act on dental prosthesis, so the results could be patchy, as your natural enamel changes the shade but the colour of the prosthesis remains unchanged. So, it is advisable to get your teeth whitening treatment done before opting for any dental prosthesis for visibly better results.
In-office teeth whitening is relatively a simple procedure but it does require a skill to avoid injury to the soft tissues of the oral cavity.
There are several standard steps that your dentist will follow while performing an in-office whitening treatment session:
Your dentist will first make a record of the present shade of your teeth by taking photographs. Teeth whitening treatment modalities brings about remarkable results on healthy teeth which are free of any surface deposits. Your dental healthcare provider would then examine your teeth for the presence of any surface accumulations in the form of plaque or calculus and your teeth would be cleaned thoroughly. Further your teeth would be polished with pumice, a grainy material used to remove any superficial collections of debris.
If your teeth are already sensitive, it is advisable to follow anti-hypersensitivity treatment regimen for 2 weeks before opting for the teeth whitening sessions.
We understand you may want to change your plans due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its health implications.
While teeth whitening is considered a relatively safe treatment option, you might experience some side effects as well:
Whitening procedures can lead to transient increase in sensitivity. This is mostly the consequence of in-office professional tooth whitening where the concentration of the active ingredient used is much higher. Teeth may become hyper-responsive to temperature changes and also to tactile stimulation. Unsolicited sharp throbbing toothache (“Zingers”) might be perceived by some individuals radiating down the cervical thirds of their anterior teeth. The likelihood for the onset of hypersensitivity is on the higher end for those with receded gingiva or in case of having tooth with hairline fractures as a result of defective or damaged tooth fillings or prosthesis.
The best part is sensitivity as a result of teeth whitening is short-term and resolves on its own within 24 to 48 hours, however in few of the cases, sensitivity may be present up to a month or even longer. To ease off the discomfort resulting from hypersensitivity, your dental health care provider might advice to use a dentifrice containing “Potassium nitrate” a compound which blocks the dentinal tubules and thereby relieves sensitivity.
Usually teeth whitening kits contains concentrated bleaching agents. A Cochrane study found that gingival irritation is one of the most commonly reported side effects while using either in-office or at-home teeth whiteners. Higher concentrations of the bleaching agents used, is the cause of concern for in-office whitening whereas close contact of whitening trays with the gingival tissues is a culprit while using at-home whitening kits. Gum irritation is mainly evident as white spots on your gums or diffuse areas on gingival tissue turns white. Sometimes, gums might also be inflamed. It is better idea to stop the treatment if the gum irritation persists else using whitening kits with lower concentrations of peroxide will serve the purpose. Gingival irritation generally resolves on its own within a few days. Salt-water rinses can help to ease off the discomfort.
Now, you are aware that the teeth whitening procedures can whiten your teeth by several shades, however results might not be the one that you are expecting, especially if you have artificial teeth such as crown prosthesis, veneers or implants. Bleaching agents does not react with these syntetic tooth
restorative materials and prosthesis. As the bleaching agents reacts chemically with the teeth, your natural teeth will become whiter after the procedure than your false tooth prosthesis resulting in the phenomenon termed as technicolor teeth. So, if you have multiple restorative prosthetic work done in your oral cavity, your dentist might advice to get them redone after the teeth whitening process is accomplished.
Is tooth whitening a safe procedure?
Teeth whitening is one of the most demanded treatment modalities and is a widely researched therapy globally. Enormous published data from the research studies have revealed that teeth that are whitened professionally by your dental health care provider safely attains the desirable degree of whiteness without any untoward event. Large number of practicing Dental Clinicians actually contemplate teeth whitening as one of the safest aesthetic dental treatment modalities available. The active ingredient present in the whitening systems, the Hydrogen peroxide has been safely used for curing oral soft tissue ailments since ages. However, prior to the start of whitening treatment, your Dentist will thoroughly examine your oral cavity if it is fit to receive the in-office professional whitening therapy and decide the suitable concentration of the bleaching agent to be used.
Dentists does not advocate these therapies for children below 13 years of age, and also suggests pregnant and lactating women to refrain from opting the whitening treatment modalities.
What is the difference between tooth bleaching and tooth whitening?
Although both the terms bleaching and whitening are used synonymously, yet there is a difference. Whitening is a broader term whereas bleaching is one form of whitening. Whitening can be achieved by mechanical removal of surface stains or debris using abrasive agents namely toothpastes or prophy pastes and are
referred to as teeth whiteners, on the other hand, bleaching of teeth refers to the use of bleaching agents that reacts with the organic components of enamel and dentine, breaks down the chromogens resulting in the formation of new simpler forms of molecules that reflects light differently resulting in the appearance of whiter teeth. As both the terms whitening and bleaching are often used interchangeably, the Food and Drug Administration department suggested that the term ‘bleaching’ is permitted to be used appropriately only if the teeth can be whitened beyond their original shade.
Does teeth whitening hurt?
It is rightly said that beauty comes with price, research data reveals that many individuals undergoing peroxide based whitening procedures complains of bleaching sensitivity (BS) arising in the treated teeth with or without any provoking stimulus. Depending on your body’s response to bleaching agents, your dentist may decide whether to alter the concentration of the active ingredient used or to shorten the duration of exposure to bleaching agents. Be cautious and get your treatment done only by the registered Dental health care professional. The licensed dentist will examine your teeth and will recommend particularly suitable whitening protocol for you. You may also be advised to use special anti-sensitivity toothpaste before the procedure and also as an aftercare measure. If sensitivity persists after the treatment, your licensed dentist will prescribe some kind of pain relief medications to ease your discomfort.
How Can I Maintain White Teeth?
Brushing teeth twice daily, flossing in between the adjacent teeth and regularly using mouthwash are considered as the ‘gold-standard’ measures to maintain optimal oral hygiene on everyday basis. By adhering to the standard recommended regimen, you make sure that the teeth remain healthy, clean and free from any surface deposits. Restricted consumption of certain foodstuffs and refreshments may warrant that your teeth will sustain its whiteness persistently.
Be assured to consult your dental practitioner regularly to get your oral cavity screened for any malady and get your appointments scheduled for routine professional scaling and polishing of the teeth.
How white can teeth whitening treatment go?
Professional teeth whitening modalities can whiten your pearly whites up to 7 to 8 shades. However, the outcome may differ from one person to another. Many are thrilled to get their teeth dazzled in just one session of whitening while others might get slightly demoralized. Although, after analyzing your oral status, Dentist will explain in detail about the probability of the treatment outcomes and the duration of time and the number of whitening sessions required to attain the desirable results, “Patience is the Key in teeth whitening process.” Notwithstanding the fact that teeth whitening agents works miraculously on the teeth that are stained externally, its efficacy is often limited for the grey-teeth and teeth which are discolored by chronic intake of certain medications.
What causes teeth discolouration?
Numerous reasons that can alter the natural colour of the teeth are as follows: