A great smile can prove to be a valuable asset, particularly when you first meet someone. However, people who have brown or yellow stained teeth are very conscious of this shortcoming. It may also cause social insecurity. One of the best treatment methods available to gain back that white perfect smile is teeth whitening. The basic methodology of teeth whitening is that it reverses the process of discoloration of teeth, bleaching them to reveal the white enamel again.
Teeth generally darken over a period of time. This may be due to consumption of caffeine-containing drinks (like tea, coffee and cola) or tobacco products. Also, excessive fluoride production and use of antibiotic medication can also lead to teeth discoloration. However, the biggest factor contributing to the loss of whiteness is age. Teeth whitening, to counter the process of discoloration, is one of the safest and the most popular procedure in cosmetic dentistry. Studies indicate that almost 96% of the people who undergo this treatment experience visible benefits.
There are three options available to those considering this procedure - you can either undergo professional bleaching, try home bleaching or use whitening toothpastes. Of the three listed, the quickest and the most effective is professional bleaching. It is also referred to as In-Office or Chair-side bleaching. It usually requires two or more visits to a dentist. However, the effects are much long lasting than any other procedure. The dentist will apply a bleaching agent to your teeth. The gums, however, are not harmed. The most common mouth guard is a gel or rubber shield. After the dentist has carefully applied the bleaching agent to your teeth, he might want to use additional heat or light procedures to make the agent work faster. A usual treatment sitting might last from 30 minutes to an hour.
The second option that is available to you is that of home bleaching. You can buy a kit from any certified pharmacist or dentist. This kit would usually contain a hydrogen peroxide based bleaching gel or solution. This is meant to be applied to the tooth enamel. As a rule, a mouth guard is also included in the kit. You are supposed to place the solution or gel in the mouth guard and then follow the directions given with the equipment. The frequency of use and the duration of treatment for home bleaching vary. Overnight treatments work for a much shorter period. However, if you are, say, required to use the kit twice a day, the treatment might be effective for a longer period of time.
Whitening toothpastes work in a different way from bleaching techniques because they do not aim towards a permanent alteration of teeth color. They usually contain polishing agents. They work to remove some of the deeper stains, which a regular toothpaste might not effectively dislodge. You should always consult your dentist before going forth with any of these procedures - he is the best person to guide you and can advise you on the most effective treatment plan suited to your needs.
The risk of tooth whitening
The risks of tooth whitening include tooth sensitivity and damage to the roots of teeth. Your dentist may be able to predict if you will have problems with or sensitivities to the procedure. She or he also may be able to help you alleviate sensitivity by recommending certain procedures and toothpastes designed to treat sensitive teeth. Your dentist can also check for signs of root damage caused by tooth whitening and treat the condition if detected in time.
Drs. Christiaan Janssens
CRO Akwa Beauty & Wellness