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Is Teeth Whitening Harmful To Teeth

Ad Min - Monday, December 28, 2020

A perfect sparkling smile and confidence go hand in hand. Many are conscious if their teeth are not perfectly white. Teeth lose their colour and they become dull, some even have a yellowish tinge. Reasons are varied – some lose their colour due to aging, some are affected due to long term medications and some others with other dental issues like decay or gum disease or even injuries to the mouth.

Teeth whitening mainly involve bleaching the teeth and reduce the stains that are present in the teeth. This is one of the main types of dental services for which patients visit dental clinics. But now, there are many over the counter products that one can use at home for perfect white teeth. One needs to be careful while doing whitening treatment at home as they are risks involved.

Whitening procedure

Teeth have several parts with varied functions. The outermost layer of the teeth is the dental enamel. This layer gives protection to the teeth and for this reason it is very hard. Immediately following the dental enamel is the inner dentine. This forms the core of the teeth and contains the pulp region. This area has the nerve endings and blood vessels nourishes the teeth. The innermost part is the root, which embeds the tooth into the bone.

It is the outermost layer of enamel that discolours mostly. It absorbs food stains from coffee, tea, and wine or even from fruits like berries. Discolouration is also seen due to smoking or using tobacco. Lack of personal oral hygiene can cause plaque formation on the teeth and cause discolouration. Some medications if used for a long time will also change the colour of the teeth. Aging can change the wear of the enamel and sometimes trauma caused to the mouth can interfere with enamel formation in children and bring about discoloured teeth.

Teeth discolouration when checked can show different coloured teeth – some yellow, some brown, black or some spotted. When the outer enamel coating erodes off the inner dentine layer is visible which leads to the teeth being yellow. Food stains such as coffee, tea or lack of oral hygiene can result in brown teeth. If there is decay in the tooth or the pulp area, this will change the colour of the teeth to black. Some teeth will have white spots on them -this is caused by too much fluoride in the water that is consumed.

The type of teeth whitening procedure depends on the type of stain. There are two different types of strains – extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic as the word suggests is exterior stains. These stains are seen outside the teeth – on the dental enamel. Food stains, stains from smoking are all in this category. Intrinsic are the stains found interior of the enamel. The stains work through the enamel covering and accumulate inside and discolour the teeth. Age related stains are both intrinsic and extrinsic – as some are caused by food stains and some caused by those which collect inside the enamel.

Depending on the stain, the treatment procedure is planned by the dentist. If the stain is minimal and extrinsic, then the dentist will clean the teeth and apply the whitening gel and brighten the teeth. In some cases, the dentists will make an impression of the teeth. This will be used to make mouth guards or mouth trays. This will contain the whitening gel. These guards need to be slipped on to the teeth and allow the gel to work on the discoloured teeth. It will need to be used anywhere between 2 weeks to 4 weeks.

Some gels can be left in the mouth/teeth for about 8 hours continuously. This will help to reduce the time of the whitening procedure. The latest and fastest method that is used is laser whitening. In this procedure, the dentist will apply a bleaching agent on the teeth and then apply laser light over it. This will help in removing the discolouration. This process is quite fast and is completed within an hour.

How safe is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is one dental procedure that is used by many of all ages. It is also one of the most popular dental treatments available. There are however few side effects associated with whitening. All of them are minor and does not damage the oral health of a person.

Tooth sensitivity
Teeth whitening uses peroxide for whitening the teeth. Hydrogen peroxide is the main ingredient in these whitening gels and some people are sensitive to this chemical.  Feeling slight pain or discomfort during the procedure or being affected when consuming hot or cold food is one of the symptoms associated with teeth sensitivity. But this is a minor concern and will go off within a time. If one feels such an issue during the procedure, this should be discussed with the dentist. This will help them to change the concentration of the peroxide present in the whitening gel but still give the desired effect.

Gum irritation
Peroxide affects the gum lining and irritates the tissues. Some might experience inflammation in the gums due to the whitening agents. This is called a chemical burn, the tissue will turn white due to the effect of chemicals. Restoration of the tissues happens within 24 hours. Washing the area with warm water will help promote the restoration process at a faster rate. In dental clinics, the gums are protected from the effect of peroxide by covering them with guards. Some clinics apply a protective gel over the gum lining for extra protection.

Dental restoration
Some are worried that the dental restorations that they have done will be affected by teeth whitening. The concern is that the whitening agents will cause the mercury from the amalgam to be washed away at a faster rate and cause other health concerns. That is not the case however, dental restorations are not affected by the teeth whitening procedure and procedures like dental crowns and implants are all well protected from any adverse action.

Causes Of Toothache In Children

Ad Min - Saturday, December 19, 2020

If anyone has ever experienced any dental problems, they would know that the symptom that signal towards any dental issue is toothache. It is a warning sign send out by the body. In the case of children, toothache will also be accompanied by other symptoms like a drooling mouth or general mouth pain. The drooling mouth is usually seen in the case of smaller children.

Difficulty in opening their mouth, having severe pain when they are chewing food can all be seen. It is important that when such symptoms are seen, to have a dental check up at the earliest. These dental consultations will help to diagnose the real cause of the tooth pain and also help take precautionary measures that will stop the problem from escalating.

Tooth decay

Decay in the tooth is seen in all irrespective of age. Infection in the teeth attacks the structure of the teeth and decay progresses. Food debris can get stuck between the teeth, if personal hygiene is lacking then it helps accelerate the decay. The food debris attracts bacteria to it. The sugar in the food is acted upon by the bacteria and releases acid. This acid can erode the protective coating of the tooth. Teeth sensitivity is experienced by some in this situation. Later if unchecked, the decay will spread to other areas of the tooth. It can damage the whole tooth and also spread to neighbouring teeth.

Loss of teeth, bad odour in the mouth, bleeding from the teeth are all symptoms that show up when there is tooth decay. Timely action is required in this situation. Decay can be corrected to some extent by practicing good personal hygiene, but sometimes additional help from a dentist will be needed.

Gum disease

This problem is seen quite commonly in children. The main reason for gum disease is plaque build-up in the teeth. In children, a mild form of this disease called gingivitis is seen. The gums become sensitive to touch, will be red, and swollen. Bleeding can be seen while brushing. The good news is that the severe form of gum disease is seldom seen in children. Lack of personal hygiene and plaque build-up is quite common in children. Mainly because they have not quite grasped the importance of brushing and flossing.

Proper techniques in brushing and flossing should be taught to children. If they do not brush, then what will be consequences, how their health is going to be affected – all these need to be discussed with the children. A complete dental examination accompanied by dental X rays will help dentists to get a clear picture. Later treatment plans are made according to the severity of the problem in children.

Tooth grinding

Bruxism is a medical term for grinding teeth or clenching the jaws. Mostly seen when children are sleeping and they do it unconsciously. This habit is more pronounced if the children are stressed. They usually outgrow this habit. But the pressure this habit places on dental health is enormous. Improper alignment of teeth is one of the main causes of this problem.

When they grind their teeth, the dental enamel can be worn out, sometimes even chipping the teeth due to the pressure of grinding. Mouth pain, earache and tooth pain is also experienced due to this grinding. If severe, they will also experience jaw problems as they clench and unclench their jaws. It is when the warning symptoms come up is this problem checked as children might not be aware they are grinding their teeth while sleeping.

Dentists usually check for worn out dental enamel, tooth sensitivity etc. Dentists will also check if they have any problems at school or if they are worried about anything. Mouthguards are prescribed by dentists to help ease the pressure from tooth grinding.

Tooth abscesses

Decay in the tooth will affect the structure and function of the tooth. Pus is seen at the base of the teeth in tooth abscesses. Pus formation is seen as the reaction of the body to fight against infection. If the pus is not able to drain out then it collects near the bottom of the teeth. An abscessed tooth will be red, swollen and painful. Swelling and pain can be reduced by applying a cold compress on the jaws. Chewing will also be a problem for the children as the infected tooth is not able to stand the pressure of chewing. If unchecked, this infection can be spread to other parts of the body. This requires advanced care from the dentist.

To ease the toothache, the pus that is formed at the base of the tooth is drained out. Antibiotics are prescribed to stop the infection, to save the teeth root canal treatment might also be needed. If the tooth cannot be saved then dentists will recommend removing the infected tooth.

Fractured/Chipped tooth

Dental injuries are caused due to accidents, sports accidents or falls. Children are quite active and these dental injuries are common. Chipped or fractured teeth are the outcome of these mishaps. Pain to the mouth and teeth, cuts or bruises in the cheeks, bleeding due to accidents are all symptoms. Treatment aims at reducing the pain and swelling in the oral region. Chipped or fractured tooth requires comprehensive treatment. If the teeth are chipped or fractured, chewing or movement puts more pressure on them.

The chipped tooth can be saved using a covering. If the fracture goes to the gum, then it becomes difficult to save the tooth. If it is milk teeth, then there is no issue as the permanent teeth will replace the milk teeth but otherwise other forms of treatment need to be planned.

Toothache though looked on as a simple issue that will be resolved after a few days of discomfort might not always be the case. It signals underlying dental concerns some of which are discussed above. It is important that the oral health of children is given due importance and they are checked by a dentist at least twice a year to help solve dental problems.


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