It’s prudent to read up on the benefits of teeth-whitening before deciding if it’s even worth the price and hassle.
For many people, having a dazzling smile is something worthwhile to invest in. They’ve seen just how powerful of an effect a full set of healthy white teeth can have on first impressions. It’s often very hard to turn opinions around after the first time you’ve met someone. If presenting your very best from the start is the intention, then it’s a worthwhile investment.
Some people have discoloured teeth and believe it is what’s holding them back from living a fulfilling social life. They hide their smiles and never feel comfortable letting out their laughter. They should immediately fix this problem.
If you’re concerned over the price, you can always choose among the clinics in our directory base on your budget. The cheaper options might necessarily mean you will get bad quality of work.
You should see teeth whitening as an investment that will pay dividends in your work and private life as well, whether in attracting customers or impressing potential employers in interviews. Or just make affect your spouse with your dazzling white smile.
What is Teeth-Whitening?
Whether you want to boost your self-confidence or simply have a shining smile, there are a variety of methods for you to use, thanks to cosmetic dentistry. But before you start, there’s some basic information you need to know in order to choose the best option that works for you. Not all teeth-whitening treatments are appropriate for everyone, and some may not even work for you. A consultation with a dental professional is in order, they can tell you if your teeth are suitable for such procedures.
Note that with most methods you can use, the end result of teeth-whitening might not always meet your expectations. However, cosmetic dentistry is developing day by day, and teeth-whitening products are being more and more effective and practical. In the following article, we address some of the most common concerns surrounding teeth-whitening and provide you with additional information on the safest to the most effective practices.
Tooth discolouration might happen due to a number of different factors. Lifestyle habits and genetics, like almost every other bodily change, can have an impact on the colour of your teeth. Let us take a closer look at the structure to determine the cause.
Our teeth are made up of two basic parts. When you look at a tooth, you’re actually observing the crown. It’s the visible, white part of your smile. The crown is covered with enamel, which is the hardest substance in a person’s entire body, let alone the tooth. This section is so strong that it is the most damage-resistant and the last part of us to decay. However, one substance that can stain or damage the minerals that make up our enamel is lactic acid. This acid is left behind by bacteria that haven’t been cleaned off with thorough and daily brushing and flossing.
Underneath that layer is your dentin, a denser version of your bones. Depending on your genetic makeup, this dentin may be of any colour from black to grey but usually looks pale yellow. This will come into play later.
All of your dentin is encasing the pulp or nerve which is soft and consists of living blood vessels, connective tissue, and large nerves. So far as teeth-whitening is concerned, we don’t need to talk about the pulp.
The enamel can get stained with certain foods and drinks. Red wine, coffee, cola, or even ketchup can more or less discolour enamel. All of these have colour compounds that can bind with the enamel.
Furthermore, smoking is attributed to yellow teeth primarily because of two substances: tar and nicotine. Both these substances, either on their own or by combination with oxygen, form an unnatural shade of black or yellow around white enamel.
Simple sugars are a big cause of cavities because as you leave the sugar on your teeth, bacteria consume it for energy and release lactic acid. This acid dissolves the enamel in such a way so as to leave you with cavities. If you start becoming sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, that’s your first sign of a cavity. You should quickly check with your dentist before it moves onto sensitivity to sweet stuff because that will require a more thorough and expensive procedure.
To make matters worse, age is another contributor to tooth discolouration. As we become older, the external enamel of our teeth becomes thinner and more transparent, slowly revealing the typically yellowish dentin underneath.
Other than the aforementioned culprits for tooth discolouration, medications and injury to the mouth can also play a key role in this process.
First and foremost, you need to know that tooth discolouration falls into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Most common solutions for tooth discolouration focus on the latter one since it’s much easier to resolve. On the other hand, people with intrinsic discolouration might require more professional help from a dentist. For instance, old age might cause intrinsic discolouration, while smoking only leads to extrinsic changes at first. As far as extrinsic staining is concerned, there are both over-the-counter products and in-office treatment available for individuals.
All these methods have one thing in common which is basically trying different abrasives in order to fade stains and marks on the surface of teeth, though some methods seep into the deeper layers as well to bleach them. After these stains loosen and dissolve, your teeth show up their natural white colour.
The fastest results are achieved by using powerful bleaching agents such as carbamide or hydrogen peroxides, and are the safest under the prescription of your dentist.
We will go over the prevalent OTC and prescription methods in this list. Remember to brush your teeth before using the OTC procedures since bacteria and plaque build-up can render your efforts ineffective.
In some methods like using trays and strips, not brushing first will lead to trapping the bacteria underneath the material, leading to tooth decay. After you’re done with the treatment, wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth if you want to, so as to not irritate your gums.
If you don’t mind the most expensive but fastest option on this list, then In-Office Bleaching is your go-to method. With a little over an hour of your time, you can get immediate results.
In this method, the whitening substance is applied onto the surface of your teeth and in combination with heat or a laser, resulting in teeth several shades whiter. For the most drastic change, several appointments are necessary, though they aren’t as dramatic as the first transformation.
The effects can last anywhere from six months to three years, depending on how you take care of them afterwards.
If you don’t mind waiting a bit longer than it would take for in-office bleaching, then consider teeth-whitening trays and gels. Contrary to the in-office bleaching, you have to do most of the work on your own in this method, but it’s always preferable to check in with your dentist. Whitening gels contain peroxide-based agents that are pasted over the surface of your soon-to-be pearly whites.
There are many differences in the strength of the products and this is reflected in their instructions as well. Depending on the peroxide strength, it could take a couple of hours to a day, or it could take a few weeks before effects take place. The results last for about four months.
Such trays and gels are available over the counter in your local pharmacy, or they can be directly prescribed and made for your mouth size by your dentist. The gels and trays bought from your dentist are stronger and fit better on your teeth, so they produce faster results.
On the other hand, over-the-counter trays aren’t custom-made to fit your teeth, so there is a risk of it spilling onto your gums, causing irritation. Another difference is that prescribed trays usually contain higher concentrations of bleaching agents than OTC ones, so you can definitely benefit from that extra concentration to make your teeth snow-white.
Teeth-whitening strips are essentially peroxide-based gels that coat very thin and almost invisible elastic strips that can be placed upon your teeth. These inexpensive alternatives are becoming more and more popular, simple to use, and fairly effective, showing results after a few days and their final results last for about 4 months.
Teeth-whitening strips are safe to use so long as they do not contain dioxide chlorine, which is used to disinfect swimming pools. That can severely damage your enamel, leading to tooth decay, so be sure to read the descriptions.
All toothpaste types work to remove the surface stains, as a result of the mild abrasives inside the formula, though some special products work with gentle polishing and/or chemical agents to increase effectiveness. Teeth-whitening pastes are great options to consider since all you need to do is brush your teeth with these toothpastes once or twice a day like you usually do with your normal pastes. But you should not expect immediate or extraordinary results because most whitening toothpastes only contain mild abrasives and detergents.
Depending on the type of whitening paste you use, after one week of brushing your teeth, you might notice that your teeth have become one or two shades whiter. In addition, some toothpastes might contain a chemical called blue covarine, in which case you might notice your teeth have become whiter after first use. The reason for this effect is that blue covarine covers the surface of teeth with a blue layer which results in its temporary whiter appearance.
In order to achieve better and more permanent results, we suggest you use whitening toothpastes with low concentrations of peroxide-based bleaching agents in their ingredients. Although the bleaching agents used in these toothpastes are not as concentrated as the ones used in the in-office method by a dentist, which can lighten the tooth’s colour by up to three to eight shades. However, since the amount of time the agents are in contact with the tooth surface is much shorter than it is in some other methods like trays and gels, the results won’t be as dramatic.
There are new teeth-whitening products in the market like whitening chewing gum, dental floss, and mouthwashes that are being studied right now. There isn’t a lot of research on these products so the effectiveness, duration, frequency of use required use is still disputed. You have to take some extra precautions in using these new products. Always remember to buy from certified pharmaceutical companies and make sure to check in with your dentist as well.
When it comes to teeth whitening, you need to remember that the fastest way is not always the safest one. Every individual must weigh the pros and cons of each of these methods and select what best fits their specific needs. It can sometimes be quite difficult to decide which procedure suits your situation, and that’s where a consultation with a dental clinic will come in handy. They can go into great detail about any method you have in mind and discuss your options according to your budget. Here at Service Ads, we showcase dental clinics in London based on their fees, and most of them offer a free consultation.
Do not ignore the methods prescribed by your dentist (that come with their own cons), it’s of critical importance to avoid overuse of home remedies since some might cause permanent damage to the composition of your teeth and their surrounding tissues.
Written by, Dr James Lutton