Is teeth whitening a substitute for teeth cleaning? We tell you what each one consists of and what their purpose is.
I’m sure you’ve heard of these two procedures: cleaning and teeth whitening. They are two of the most popular services in dental clinics, and both are related to aesthetics and health. However, one is no substitute for the other: they are very different procedures and have different purposes. Below we explain what each one of them consists of so that you know when each one is more convenient for you.
Tooth cleaning: a must for everyone
To maintain proper oral hygiene, it is necessary to clean your teeth after each meal and in a complete manner, using toothpaste, dental floss and a mouthwash. Sometimes it is even necessary to use smaller brushes to reach all the interdental spaces called interproximal brushes and tongue scrapers to kill germs that accumulate on the tongue.
But even if you brush your teeth and clean your mouth the right way every day, you may not be killing off all the bacteria – there are always hard-to-reach areas where they accumulate that we can’t access using traditional methods. To help us keep our mouth and teeth clean is dental cleaning at the dentist.
Advantages and benefits of tooth cleaning
The objective of dental cleaning at the dentist is to eliminate all the tartar and plaque that accumulates on our teeth and can eventually cause some oral diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis. It is performed in a single consultation session and quickly, and its ultimate goal is to preserve the health of the patient’s mouth, although it can also improve its aesthetics by observing whiter and brighter teeth.
Teeth whitening: a matter of aesthetics
On the other hand, there is tooth whitening: a purely aesthetic procedure that is performed in order to give our teeth a better appearance. Both by the passage of time and by the action of some agents such as nicotine or coffee, our teeth may tend to darken and become duller in colour than before. In these cases, the patient can consult his or her dentist if a tooth whitening is recommended.
Tooth whitening must be carried out by a specialist and is carried out in one or more sessions, and can even be followed from home with the necessary material and under medical prescription. Before performing a teeth whitening it is necessary to evaluate the patient’s teeth, as it is not recommended in the case of dental hypersensitivity or have pathologies such as caries or periodontal disease.
Advantages and benefits of teeth whitening
There are a wide variety of whitening techniques and it is always advisable to be advised by your dentist when choosing which one suits you best. The technique used in the clinic is the photoactivation technique: it is necessary to first protect soft tissues such as the gums and oral mucous membranes, and then apply a gel with a solution of hydrogen peroxide on the teeth that is activated with an LED light that accelerates the whitening process. With this technique it is possible to lighten teeth up to eight shades in a 45 minute session.
The whitening at home should always be done under the supervision and prescription of a dentist: we will place a special custom-made upper and lower splint and apply a gel over it. We should wear the splints as long as our dentist advises. The gel used for home whitening is of a lower concentration than the one used for photoactivation whitening, so the treatment is longer. The combination of the two makes that the one at home enhances the one at the clinic, giving longer lasting results.
How to combine teeth whitening and tooth cleaning to enhance the beneficial effects of both treatments
As we have mentioned, cleaning is necessary for all of us because it is a health issue, since it eliminates bacterial plaque and tartar that we cannot make disappear with a brush and thread. As it also removes stains caused by tobacco or by the consumption of food such as coffee, the effect on the colour of our teeth is evident.
If we add a tooth whitening treatment to the cleaning we can achieve a greater benefit than if we do it separately, precisely because the whitening is done on teeth that are already clean and free of stains.