Before, the only function that dentistry served was to help alleviate or fix a patient’s dental problem like getting rid of tooth decay, fixing damaged teeth, and performing minor surgical procedures during a tooth extraction. Today, dentistry can now fix misaligned teeth, jaw problems, and offer teeth whitening services that were simply impossible before.
Simply put, teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that aims to increase a person’s confidence by making their pearly whites shine again. However, it is important to consider some vital facts about the procedure before you even consider pushing through with an appointment. In this post, let’s take a look at all there is to know about the teeth whitening process.
The Teeth Whitening Process and More
The entire teeth whitening process is made possible by two chemicals—namely, carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide, two of the main ingredients used in teeth-whitening serums. These chemicals either work together or work separately to make anyone’s teeth return to their naturally appealing white colour.
They pretty much work in the same way by gently penetrating the tooth’s enamel to ensure a thorough, deep clean. Oxygen molecules are also present in these ingredients, which break the stained molecules apart, restoring the teeth to their sparkly-white glory.
Teeth-whitening products vary all around the market, and some of them include
- LED whitening mechanisms;
- whitening powders, strips, and trays, as well toothpastes;
- in-chair whitening treatment (done in a dentist’s office); and
- gel whitening serum applied via a toothbrush.
Knowing some of the main staining factors for your teeth is important because they help you avoid (or lessen using) these stain-causing elements. Basically, staining happens due to a person’s over-consumption of beverages that have dark colours. A few examples of these staining agents include tea, red wine, and coffee. Drinking from a straw greatly reduces the amount of these staining agents coming into contact with your teeth.
Smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products can also stain teeth. Due to the immense concentration of tar and nicotine found in cigarettes, it’s very common for smokers to complain about yellowing teeth. In extreme situations, heavy smokers would even lament about their teeth gradually acquiring a brown colour throughout the years. The best way to prevent these cigarette stains is to quit smoking entirely and adopt a healthier dental (and overall) lifestyle.
Safety Concerns Regarding Teeth Whitening
Being concerned about the entire process is a normal and wise reaction. Simply put, why would you just jump in untested waters without hesitation? Truth be told, any teeth-whitening treatment is completely safe and wouldn’t even cause much pain (if there are any). Some slight discomfort may be felt in all cases, but this is entirely dependent on a patient’s personal tolerance. However, what often does not work and is often risky are over-the-counter products that claim to be effective.
To truly experience effective teeth whitening, it’s best to visit a dental clinic that’s registered with their local GDCs (general dentist council), as opposed to choosing a non-registered clinic. With a registered clinic, you can rest assured that professional dentists will be assisting you throughout the entire process and that they’ll have state-of-the-art equipment—such as an advanced-functionality dental chair—for maximum results. This is also the safest method with zero risks involved.
The Individuals to Whom Teeth Whitening Cater
In general, anyone can get their teeth whitened, regardless of age. However, there are certain people with specific predispositions, especially with their medical history, who would unfortunately be exempted from this treatment. Here are two individuals who aren’t suitable candidates for teeth whitening:
- Those with gum disease like periodontitis and gingivitis or other oral health problems are discouraged from undergoing a teeth whitening treatment because the process is likely to weaken their gums even more, causing more damage to the existing issue.
- Those with veneers and crowns don’t qualify simply because these restorations are unreactive to the whitening agents (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) that are used in teeth whitening treatments, due to veneers or crowns being made from porcelain.
Other Vital Facts to Keep in Mind
There are a couple more extra things to keep in mind about teeth whitening. You can think of the following as side notes, but they could be just as important as the main considerations:
- Results won’t last forever because staining agents, medications, and vices can affect the colour of a patient’s teeth. However, patients can always avoid drinking too much red wine, coffee, and tea. They can also lessen consumption of foods that have curry sauce or squid ink and if they brush regularly. Smoking is also a big no-no.
- Teeth whitening side effects include gum and teeth sensitivity, along with momentary smudge-like impressions on one’s teeth.
- Regularly visit and talk to your dentist about the maintenance and health benefits of teeth whitening to keep your pearly whites in tip-top shape.