Teeth whitening is a very common cosmetic procedure that is suitable for many dental patients looking to improve the aesthetics of their smile. There are both physical and chemical means that can help to whiten your teeth.
There are many things that can cause our teeth to become discoloured, dull and yellowed. These factors include:
There are two types of teeth stains: External stains and internal stains.
External stains are generally caused by lifestyle choices such as our diet, smoking and oral hygiene.
These stains generally cause our teeth to become yellow and discoloured. However, it is important to go for a proper dental checkup to ensure that there are no outstanding dental issues such as cavities or gum related diseases can be sorted out so that you’re properly prepped for teeth whitening.
Internal stains are usually caused by a variety of factors that generally happen during childhood. These factors can affect the development of your adult teeth and they may cause your teeth to become darkened in a brownish or bluish hue. These factors can include:
Note: certain toothpastes that are purported to have “whitening” effects can in fact have an adverse effect on your teeth as they contain certain abrasive ingredients that might end up damaging your enamel and exposing the dentin beneath, which has a more yellowish hue than enamel, which is naturally white.
Teeth whitening works around either one of two chemical agents: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
Teeth whitening kits will use a solution of one of these agents in order to penetrate the enamel of the tooth. This can either be done as chairside teeth whitening or done at home at your own time with a take home whitening kit.
Chairside teeth whitening is conducted at the dental studio itself and usually takes around 30-45 minutes.
These are highly effective treatments that can provide long term results as in-house treatments possess a far higher higher concentration of chemicals used when compared to take home treatments. These kits generally contain anywhere between 15% to 43% peroxide. Usually, either UV or blue lights are used in conjunction with this treatment and results with this combination treatment are proven to significantly lighten the teeth far more than simply using the peroxide gel alone.
Chairside teeth whitening is a great option for someone with a busy schedule who does not want the hassle of having to perform the teeth whitening process by themselves.
Take home teeth whitening kits can be purchased from dental clinics. These generally contain a higher amount of hydrogen peroxide as compared to over the counter whitening kits and can only be issued if you have a prescription and directions of use from a dentist. These kits generally contain anywhere from between 5% to 18% peroxide.
These take home kits come with custom sized bleaching trays that can make a custom mold in order to coat your teeth with a special gel to cause the whitening effect. In general, they are more expensive than the kits that can be found over-the-counter (OTC).
Be sure to wear these bleaching kits for at least 40 to 60 minutes every day for at least 14 days in order to achieve optimal results. This is because the amount of hydrogen/carbamide peroxide in a take home teeth whitening kit is much less than those that are used in chairside whitening kits.
This usually depends on the condition of the patient’s teeth before they do the teeth whitening procedure. If the outer layer of the enamel is very thick, this will likely mean that teeth whitening won’t be a painful experience. Patients who have a thinner layer of enamel will have a chance of feeling some slight discomfort as their teeth will be more sensitive. The whitening effect will also be less pronounced for patients with less whitening effect.