Teeth whitening is a chemical process by which you can make your teeth look whiter either at home of at the dentist’s office. Teeth whitening is quite common in all parts of the world, and the products for teeth whitening are available over the counter. The main procedure followed in majority of teeth whitening procedures is bleaching, but sometimes teeth whitening can be only cleaning the teeth thoroughly and remove impurities and debris of food from them. Bleaching products contain peroxide which removes stains from the teeth, causing them to appear lighter in shade.
How does teeth whitening work?
Teeth whitening can be achieved in 2 ways. One simple way is to get your teeth cleaned by a professional dentist in his office, where he will clean your teeth with special tools and remove debris of food particles, and clean and remove plaque from between the teeth which will remove stains and make your teeth appear lighter in shade. Another way is bleaching the teeth to remove stains which are deeper in the teeth. This is done by a chemical process. The bleaching agents, hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide are applied on the surface of the teeth. Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient (carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide) which breaks down the stains into very tiny pieces and they get dispersed so that they are not visible anymore. These chemicals can work not only on the surface but can reach deeper in the tooth enamel and break down stains. The whole chemical process can take a few minutes to a few hours, and as a result you will have your teeth appear lighter and whiter.
Who can benefit from teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a very much in demand procedure all over the world but it is most popular in the field where people have to face other people during their work environment. In fact, everyone wants to have a beautiful smile because smile is one of the earliest things with which we make an impression on others. Teeth whitening helps people who have their teeth stained because of their lifestyle choices or due to the medication they are on like tetracycline, or simply because of age.
Anybody who is healthy in general can make use of teeth whitening products. People who have stains on the teeth because of food habits like having an excess of coffee, tea, red wine, tobacco, and foods that contain food colours.
Where kind of stains and conditions that cannot be corrected by teeth whitening products?
- People who have porcelain veneers, dental fillings and dental bonding as a corrective treatment for broken and chipped teeth or who have dental crown as a replacement of lost teeth cannot benefit with teeth whitening products.
- Yellow stains can be removed with these products, but brown stains are difficult to remove with bleaching.
- Discoloration from a dead tooth cannot be corrected with bleaching.
- Conditions such as sensitivity of teeth may get worsened with bleaching.
- People with the habit of grinding teeth(bruxism) are not advised to do teeth whitening at home.
- People who are on special medicines cannot be helped with bleaching.
What are the regular products available over the counter for teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening products are becoming more popular because they allow to do the procedure at home. These over-the-counter products contain lesser amount of hydrogen peroxide for safety reasons and get good results for some people although it takes little longer to get the desired results. The products include, teeth whitening trays, gels, rinses, toothpastes, stripes even toothbrushes.
Teeth whitening strips
This is one of the most popular products used. It is a thin, flexible plastic strip which has a coating of bleaching agent. They are supposed to be placed on the front of your teeth for a stipulated time, usually half an hour, removed and discarded after the time is up. They are applied twice a day for a week or so. Strips may cause irritation in the gums and sensitivity in the teeth. If you have a wide tooth line, then strips can run short of the width. Be careful while using strips. Avoid using strips that contain chlorin dioxide because it can affect tooth enamel.
Teeth whitening trays
These trays are best if made by your dentist. It is a tray that contains the chemical and made after making a mould of your teeth so that it fits snug on your teeth and the teeth remain in contact with the chemical which is filled in the tray. If it is custom made by your dentist it is very effective because the concentration of the bleaching agent is higher so the effect will last longer. Since the trays fit on the teeth the saliva cannot dilute the solution. It also saves the gums from irritation because there is minimum leakage. When you get readymade trays it may not fit snug on your teeth and there is a question of leakage. When the tray is prepared by the dentist, he can give you desensitizing agents to be used either before or after the application. The dentist also know about your medical history and therefore the solution he will fill in tray will suit your body properly.
Teeth whitening rinses
In addition to refresh your breath, these products contain teeth whitening bleaching agents to whiten your teeth. They are to be kept in mouth for a few minutes, swished around and spit out. This needs to be done twice a day. Since the product remains in the mouth for a very short while,
Teeth whitening toothpastes, gels
These tooth pastes work with abrasives and cleaning agents like baking soda, silica and calcium carbonate which can remove surface stains. But they cannot bleach teeth from inside therefore they may not help with deeper stains. The gels too can work only on the surface stains.
If you want to do whitening at home, it is advisable to do it under the supervision of your dentist. The first option of course is to get it done in your dentist’s office.