Teeth whitening is a cosmetic process by which one can get the stains removed from the surface of front of the teeth. The idea of teeth whitening is to get the teeth back to its original colour. The process clears the stains by bleaching them and make the teeth whiter again. The result may last for a few months to a few years, depending on the individual, what stains were removed, and what process was followed to get the results.
What kind of stains can be removed with the help of teeth whitening?
Our teeth are made up of many parts including enamel which is the outer most surface of the tooth and is hardest part in the entire body. It is white in colour but differs in the shade from person to person. Dentine is the second layer in the tooth below the enamel which can be yellowish to greyish.
The enamel reflects the natural colour of our teeth. The enamel can pick up stains from the food you eat, or the substances you use. There are many reasons for discolouration of your teeth enamel apart from foods. The most common foods that can discolour teeth are tea, coffee, red wine, coloured soft drinks, chocolate and artificially added colours in foods, tobacco in any form like smoking, high intake of the fluorinated water, accidents or trauma and impact on the teeth are all considered to get your teeth stained. Age is also a factor that may make your teeth look yellow or grey because with age, the enamel on your outer surface of the teeth gets thin, and the colour of the inner layer, dentine is shown through the enamel making the teeth look stained. and age are contributing factors for discolouration of teeth.
Teeth whitening process can remove stains created from consuming foods responsible for staining teeth, but it cannot correct the colour of teth which has become yellow because of age, and the teeth which has been restored with artificial crowns, dental veneers, and ceramic or gold caps on the teeth.
How do teeth whitening products work?
Teeth whitening products consist hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as active chemical ingredients. The stains on the teeth are removed by bleaching. The hydrogen peroxide as an active bleaching agent, breaks down the stains into hundreds of tiny particles when it comes into contact with water. These tiny particles are washed away and are thrown out. There are many products for teeth whitening available in the market. The products differ in concentration of the chemicals present and hence the results depend on the concentration of the hydrogen peroxide and how long it keeps in touch with the teeth.
Who can do teeth whitening for you?
Teeth whitening procedure can be carried out by the dentist in his office or he can supervise the procedure by providing you with the product as well as guidance and detailed instruction about how to carry out the procedure at home.
Another method is to carry out the procedure at home with the products that are available over the counter by following the instructions given therein.
For best and longer lasting results, it advised to be done the dentist’s office where he can personalize the product according to your need, because he is aware of your personal medical history. He will also monitor the procedure which can be relied upon for the optimum result.
The dentists usually prepare a tray which is like mouth guard. He fills the tray with the solution for bleaching. The tray is put on your teeth for a stipulated time and then removed. The solution in the tray will bleach your teeth according to your need. The solution can be added or taken away as per your requirement by the dentist. Since it is in the right proportion and kept on your teeth according to the condition of stains on your teeth, the results are expected to be the best possible.
What are different systems available for teeth whitening at home?
There are a variety of products available over the counter for teeth whitening procedure to be done at home. These include whitening toothpastes, gels, stripes, rinses, trays, and chewing gums.
Most teeth whitening systems available over the counter consist carbamide peroxide ranging in amount from 10 percent to 20 percent.
Teeth whitening trays
These are trays which fits onto your teeth like a tooth guard. Theses trays are filled with hydrogen peroxide solution which will break down the stains on the teeth. This is one the best method that brings better results than other methods.
Teeth whitening toothpastes
Some toothpastes contain mild abrasives, and carbamide peroxide which lightens the colour and make your teeth whiter and lighter.
Teeth whitening strips
Whitening strips are very thin strips which is coated with chemicals containing carbamide peroxide which has to be cut to the size of your front teeth and put on your teeth for a stipulated time to take effect.
Teeth whitening gels
These are clear gels containing hydrogen peroxide which are applied on your teeth with a brush. The concentration of the chemical agents vary and you have to follow instruction for how long to keep the gel on.
The application may have to be repeated for the gels, toothpastes and strips according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Teeth whitening rinses
These are like mouth washes which are used to keep the mouth clean and bacteria free. Teeth whitening rinses contain hydrogen peroxide as an added ingredient which helps in whitening teeth. But this is very slow because rinses stay for a short time in the mouth before they are spitted out.
You must take care while doing the teeth whitening at home. Do not carry out the procedure if you have gum disease, or any other problems in the mouth. People who have sensitive teeth should always consult their dentist before embarking on the process at home. If you are taking medicines for any major illness like heart disease or cancer, do ask your physician before doing teeth whitening.
The dentist supervised teeth whitening is always better than home procedures.