Teeth Whitening – Myths and Facts you should know
An effective and impressive way of lightening the natural color of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surfaces is Teeth Whitening. It lightens teeth and helps to remove any sort of discoloration or stain. Teeth whitening stands tall among the most popular cosmetic procedures as it can greatly improve the look of your smile and teeth.
What is teeth whitening?
Tooth whitening is the best way to get rid of discoloration and staining on the tooth and is most effective on extrinsic (outer tooth surface) stains.
Baby teeth are typically whiter than adult teeth. As we age, our adult teeth often become stained, yellower, or darker, this is because, every day, a thin coating -pellicle- forms on the tooth enamel (outer layer of a tooth) and this keeps adding up to the stains.
Most common reasons why tooth staining or discoloration occurs is because of:-
- Use of tobacco
- Consumption of beverages like coffee, coke, tea, etc
- Poor oral hygiene
- Medicines and diseases
- Excessive fluoride in water/dental products
- Advancing age
Have you ever noticed stains that seem to be inside the tooth? Yes, it is also possible to have stains inside the tooth. These stains are called intrinsic stains. These type of stains are caused when there is too much exposure to fluoride during childhood or because of antibiotics named tetracycline or if the person was born with a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta.
Teeth Whitening Options
- Home Tooth Whitening Solutions
Also known as over the counter method. This option is relatively inexpensive and easy to use. Although there are commercially available tooth whitening products, only a few can be purchased without a dentist’s supervision – E.g. Mouth trays with gel, whitening strips, whitening toothpaste, paint-on tooth gel. etc.
If you have major oral health concerns, it is best to talk to your dentist and use these products.
- Professional Teeth Whitening or In-office whitening
In office whitening is also known as chairside bleaching. This method remains the most effective and highly preferred form of teeth whitening. The whitening products contain one of the two tooth bleaches – hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide – to give you the bright white-teeth you want.
The procedure involves the application of a tooth whitening gel. Your dentist will apply the gel that covers and protects the gums around the teeth. Then, the whitening agent will be placed on the teeth. The whitening agent contains between 25% to 40% hydrogen peroxide. Next, a special light will be aimed at the teeth (some dentist prefer using a laser, which seems to accelerate the whitening process) for about three 20-minute intervals, with reapplication of the gel between intervals.
Often dentists will ask to continue the bleaching procedure at home if the teeth are badly discolored.
Myths and Facts about teeth whitening
There are tons of myths surrounding teeth whitening and you must be sure not to believe them. Below are a few myths we have busted
Myth 1: You can’t whiten your teeth if you have sensitivity
Fact: There are always ways to overcome discomfort. People with sensitive teeth can surely undergo teeth whitening. To overcome the discomfort, people with sensitive teeth can use rubber guards for the gums, desensitizing gels, or prior to the procedure, simply brush the teeth by using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Myth 2: The results of teeth whitening are permanent.
Fact: Although professional dental teeth whitening will last up to 2 years, teeth whitening needs maintenance and good on-going care. If oral health care is neglected, the results might not last long.
Myth 3: Anyone can get their teeth whitened.
Fact: Tooth-whitening is less effective on people with brown teeth, while it works the best for people with yellow teeth. Extremely discolored teeth, like teeth that have turned gray and decayed, will have no effects of teeth whitening at all.
Myth 4: Whitening harms teeth
Fact: Teeth whitening can never cause harm if done under the supervision of professional dentists.
Myth 5: Teeth whitening will whiten my crowns & porcelain fillings.
Fact: No! The whitening treatment will whiten nothing but only your teeth.
While there are many more such myths, you can always rely on these facts:
- Teeth whitening is a safe procedure and can only be carried out by a dentist.
- Before going ahead with the treatment, your dentist will always assess your case to establish the nature of your tooth discoloration.
To be sure that tooth-whitening is worth your money and time, talk to your dentist!