Tooth whitening is a procedure to remove stains, discoloration and generally lighten teeth. It is one of the most common cosmetic dental procedure because improve your tooth appearance and enhance your smile. There are different whitening techniques and products like bleaching and non-bleaching procedure or over the counter gels and strips. Teeth whitening is the proper option for people who have healthy teeth and gum.
Usually, there is a difference between whitening and bleaching. When the teeth are whitened beyond their natural color, this is tooth bleaching that apply by products contain bleach like carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. But when you bring back the tooth’s surface color by removing stain and dirt, it called tooth whitening that apply whit any products that clean the teeth such as whitening toothpaste.
There are also two categories of stains, extrinsic stains that form on the surface of the teeth and are result of exposure to foods and tobacco, dark-colored beverages and routine wear and tear. Intrinsic stains develop from the interior of teeth which are result from aging, trauma and exposure to minerals during tooth formation or over use of fluoride.
Typically, different factors cause tooth staining including eating habits, age, smoking habit, trauma, grinding or medication and chemicals products.
Tooth whitening is a permanent procedure. If you avoid food and beverages that causes staining, you can wait one year or even longer for another whitening treatment.
Bleaching & non bleaching procedure
All whitening techniques come in two ways:
Bleaching procedure: it can change the natural tooth color about three to five shades brighter. Bleaching contain an active ingredient, usually carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide in concentration of 10-22% which can remove surface stains and internal discolorations. This procedure also called chairside bleaching can whiter teeth and can be done in a dentist’s office. Although after some years your teeth may become discolored and make stains. You can also do in-home bleaching method by a custom mouthpiece tray which is made by your dentist. You can wear it overnight or several hours a day for two weeks. As you notice new staining, you need to wear it again for one or two night to take them off.
Non-bleaching procedures: it contains physical action to remove surface stains. For example, professional cleaning by a dentist and whitening toothpastes are in this category.
Risks of tooth whitening
There are no serious side effects by tooth whitening, but some people may experience tooth sensitivity for a short time. Tooth whitening is also forbidden for pregnant women and they should postpone this procedure until after delivery. Some ones may also experience some degree of gum irritation because of bleach absorption or due to contact with the tray, but it will end up after few days.
Ideal age for tooth whitening
Usually tooth bleaching and whitening is not recommended under the age 16. Because the nerve of tooth and pulp chamber can grow and develop until this age. So tooth whitening under this age damage the pulp and make it sensitive. More addition tooth whitening products on children’s teeth causes teeth sensitivity, variations in tooth color, dentin demineralization and in case of use strong chemical whitening products may damage gum tissue and enamel pitting.
Generally, the best time for tooth whitening is when all baby teeth are lost, all of the adult teeth are in place and not still erupting. You also should make sure that you don’t need orthodontic treatment before bleaching.
Does whitening work on all teeth?
Whitening can’t correct all type of stain and discoloration. For instance, brown teeth can’t whiten very well and gray teeth will not correct at all as well as veneers, filling, crowns or any discoloration caused by tooth injury or medication while yellow teeth respond to whitening very well.
Is there any age limit for teeth whitening?
Usually it is not recommended to use tooth whitening below the minimum age. You should make sure all your kid baby teeth are lost, all of the adult teeth are in place and not still erupting and the orthodontic treatment is complete.
Do tooth whiteners damage tooth enamel?
Of you use of products contain 10% carbamide peroxide, it doesn’t damage tooth’s enamel surface.
How long will the result of tooth whitening last?
If you follow simple post whitening care instruction, and do proper brushing and flossing you can see results lasting for 3-5 years.
Generally, the best natural way to keep your teeth healthy and white is following healthy habits such as, brushing your teeth twice a day, limiting foods that stain your teeth such as tea and coffee, not smoking, cleaning between your teeth once a day and use of whitening toothpaste.
Ask from the doctor