In a scenario where most of us have already achieved basic dental hygiene and where we have prevented our teeth from being broken or lost thanks to various dental treatments, such as implants, teeth whitening has become one of the procedures that is attracting the most interest. “We all want our teeth to look beautiful and white, but this has also led us to take steps to achieve this that are not proven effective, and in many cases can be harmful.” said Dr.Kyatam , an expert teeth whitening dentist,
Myths about teeth whitening
- Whitening toothpastes that can be purchased in any type of establishment are not very effective. Very few whitening toothpastes actually contain whitening agents such as sodium bicarbonate. As they are abrasive, they remove external stains and give the impression that the teeth are whiter. But what they really do is damage the enamel because of that abrasion.
- Homemade recipes such as baking soda, lemon and hydrogen peroxide do not work as tooth whiteners. It is also not effective to rub the teeth with certain fruits, nor do gum with a whitening effect have any effect. They are also potentially harmful to our dental health, as they contain abrasive elements for tooth enamel and can lead to tooth sensitivity problems.
- Strawberry and banana peel pastes also have no whitening effect, although, unlike previous methods, they have no harmful side effects.
- The use of hydrogen peroxide is ineffective because it needs to be activated, either by light or chemically. Its abuse will also dry out the gums, creating future complications.
- Bleaching kits, teeth whitening splints, or whitening strips can have some whitening effect, but they are not entirely safe methods because they cause many side effects such as tooth sensitivity, gum irritation, and enamel erosion. In addition, each product has its own chemicals and we must be properly informed about each of them.
- LED lights and other accelerator lights sold for home use have no whitening effect. Light treatments, such as photoactivated teeth whitening, only work if they are performed in a professional facility and under dental supervision.
Facts about Teeth Whitening
All professional treatments provided in dental clinics work well. The two most widespread options are carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. Both produce a very similar effect, although carbamide works more slowly.
All types of whitening follow the same principle: the action of a gel (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide) in different concentrations that penetrates the porous tooth (like a sponge) and is gradually released inside it. However, not everyone responds equally to tooth whitening, so its effectiveness also depends on our biology.
What teeth whitening does produce is some tooth sensitivity once it has been applied. But this sensitivity is reversible and after days of not using the whitening gel, this sensitivity disappears. However, this process is not abrasive and does not affect the structure of the teeth, so our teeth will not be weakened.
During treatment, it is advisable to reduce the consumption of food and beverages with dyes, such as coffee or black tea, since what is gained with bleach is “lost” with these dyes.
The color obtained by a teeth whitening is maintained for a period of time ranging from one to three years, but your dentist may recommend a session in a clinic or at home for an annual booster.
We can all undergo a professional whitening treatment, but it is recommended to avoid it in the following cases: children under 15 years old with the enamel not yet fully formed, pregnant women, patients with periodontal disease, patients allergic to the components of the formula and patients with gingival retraction.
Types of Teeth Whitening
- Once we know the myths and truths of teeth whitening, it is worthwhile to learn about the different techniques that can help you have a whiter smile.There are many ways to whiten your teeth, including the use of whitening toothpastes and other products that can remove many surface stains for a low cost, to the use of whitening techniques that can cost up to $1,000 and which are used in the dental office, offering dramatic results.
- Photoactivation: This is done in a dental clinic. It is a fast whitening whose results can be seen from the first session, with a lightening of up to 8 shades. It consists of placing a cover that protects the gums, tongue and palate and then applying a whitening gel that is activated by LED light to achieve the desired effect.
- Whitening at home with gel: This is a whitening that we can do at home but with the supervision of the dentist. Personal plastic splints are used to apply a whitening gel, as directed by the dentist.Whitening products that can be purchased mostly in pharmacies or other centers can be gels that are applied with a brush, bite-size buckets and whitening tapes that can range from $10 to $45
- Mixed whitening: it is a combination of the two previous ones. By doing a whitening in the clinic and also at home, a lightening of up to 10 shades and a longer duration of the results is achieved.
- Internal whitening: is a special whitening for specific situations in which a tooth loses color for some reason. With several sessions in the clinic, internal whitening is performed to restore the color to match the rest of the teeth.
- laser-based whitening:A laser-based whitening session performed in the dentist’s office can cost $500 or more, providing immediate results and dramatically whiter teeth. However, after a year of eating and drinking (coffee, tea, soft drinks), your teeth become slightly stained again. With in-office whitening, you will have to pay the $500 to whiten your teeth again.
- A tray that fits your mouth and is made by your dentist for in-home whitening can cost as much as $300, and you can use it several hours a day or overnight for two weeks. When you simply observe the appearance of new stains, use the bucket for one or two nights to remove the stain.
- Whitening products that can be purchased mostly in pharmacies or other centers can be gels that are applied with a brush, bite-size buckets and whitening tapes that can range from $10 to $45.
- Procedures that do not use bleaching agents: these act by physical and/or chemical action to help remove surface stains. All toothpastes produce a gentle abrasion to remove surface stains between dental appointments. Whitening toothpastes have special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal. A professional cleaning performed by a dentist or hygienist also uses an abrasive and tooth polishing compound to remove the most external stains caused by food and tobacco.
Each individual responds differently to different whitening techniques. Some people respond well to whitening when using toothpastes, while others with grayish or more serious teeth may require porcelain veneers (discussed elsewhere in this section) to achieve the smiles they’ve always wanted. Only your dentist can determine what is best for you.