Teeth whitening is a dental practice that is more and more popular all over the world. It is a relatively new practice, though, going back to the 1980s and in involves applying carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide chemicals to the surface of the teeth. If the percentage of these chemicals is bigger in the mixture applied to the teeth, it will take less time for the teeth to white. However, it isn’t gold all that glitters – as an old saying goes. Even though it is a rather inexpensive and easy procedure, teeth bleaching has some pretty worrying counter effect too. So, here is everything you need to know about bleaching the teeth.
Teeth bleaching or teeth whitening belongs to the group of cosmetic dentistry procedures where mixtures with whitening ingredients and bleaching agents are applied to the teeth to make them whiter and brighter. This can be done in the dentist’s office or at home. Usually, the whitening products contain from 3% to 20% of the whitening agents (carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide).
One way to have your teeth bleached is if it is done professionally, by the dentist. They use a much stronger bleaching solution than the over-the-counter home kits. As a result, the results are much more visible, and three to eight shades brighter are possible with a couple of 3- to 60-minute in-office procedures. The price of this type of whitening can vary from $500 to $1000.
There are different types of kits for home bleaching. There are tubes of toothpaste, gels, whitening strips, and tray-based bleaching systems. They are much less expensive but give weaker results than the in-house sessions. Plus, it might take a bit longer to get to the results you want, so an extended period should be planned ahead. Some of the most famous are the Opalescence whitening products as well as GLO Science or Crest 3D White.
When we talk about the benefits, it all comes down to having a whiter smile for cosmetic reasons. So, first and foremost, the benefit of having whiter teeth is of personal nature, which increases the self-confidence in people and makes that much more attractive. About 96% of adults are more attracted to the opposite sex if they have a white smile.
There are several side effects of teeth whitening. The first one is tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Tooth sensitivity usually happens from extended use of dental appliances on the teeth, whereas gum irritation is connected to ill-fitting whitening trays and not by the bleaching ingredients.
The peroxide, for particular, is surely an effective bleaching ingredient. However, it mustn’t be used by pregnant or nursing women or by children under the age of fourteen. For the rest of the people, it is not advisable to use it for longer than two weeks.
Also, it is not recommended to use whitening gels with peroxide concentration that is more than 18%. Otherwise, it can destroy the enamel of the tooth and leave the dentin exposed, triggering strong tooth sensitivity.
Another research has shown that higher concentrated products can cause gum burns, even a burning sensation in the throat and an upset stomach. Finally, it is not a procedure intended for everybody and every teeth condition. In fact, there is proof that certain whitening agents won’t be effective on veneers, fillings, crowns, and caps. Also, the same ingredients won’t work for brown or gray discolorations of teeth.
Often whitening is not recommended – it just increases the risk of the negative side effects. Plus, the dentist must be your advisor during the whole procedure, even if you decide to do it at home. They know the condition of your teeth well and can make a whitening plan for you.
Also, to keep the teeth white after bleaching, you need to brush, floss, and rinse at least twice a day. In addition, you should stay away from acidic and tannin-rich foods and drinks, including black tea or coffee, white and red wine, sodas, berries, and sauces.
If you decide to proceed with bleaching your teeth, consult your dentist regardless of whether you are doing it in their office or at home. Your teeth need to be in a healthy condition before starting the sessions; otherwise, you might end up destroying the enamel of the teeth and make them fragile and susceptible to injuries or diseases. On the other hand, if you follow all the instructions correctly you will be excited about the results and your beautiful pearly smile.