Do you think that your smile is lacking some sparkle or you feel that your teeth are getting yellowish? Then, teeth whitening can be what you’re looking for.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a dental cosmetic procedure, which removes stains and discoloration from your teeth. It is also called tooth whitening or dental bleaching. This technique can help you obtain a brighter smile. The procedure is the most popular dental cosmetic since it makes your smile and look better, improves your appearance and boosts your confidence.
Who are the candidates?
Anyone who suffers from teeth staining caused by several reasons is suitable for teeth whitening.
Am I suitable for teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening procedure is not recommended for people who had previous dental operations such as dental crowns, veneers, bridges or fillings. Individuals who have serious tooth cavity or sensitive gums are not suitable for teeth whitening, either. People who consume an excessive amount of tobacco or alcohol cannot take advantage of this procedure since these substances can produce new stains in a short period. Individuals who have stains caused by medications such as antibiotics should not consider teeth whitening as a solution, either.
Pregnant women are recommended to postpone teeth whitening after pregnancy as the side effects of whitening or bleaching procedure in this case are not well known.
Preparing for teeth whitening
If there is any other dental problem, it should be treated before starting your teeth whitening treatment. The success of this procedure might depend on it.
The reasons of discoloration might be identified by a dentist. The dentist may examine your health and dental history to provide you with the best solution. For example, if the stains are made as a result of smoking, the person needs to stop smoking. In addition, the dentist may clean your teeth from germs and food remnants for before the whitening process.
How are teeth whitening treatments performed ?
Teeth whitening is not a complicated procedure and it has low risks. It is also known as dental bleaching or tooth whitening and there are small differences between them. Whitening only brings back the natural color of your teeth, while bleaching makes them brighter than their natural color.
There are many techniques that provide you with a sparkly smile. Before you choose one, you should consult a dental specialist. Your dentist can suggest the most suitable procedure for your teeth.
Methods of teeth whitening or bleaching
There are two main methods of teeth whitening: vital whitening and non-vital whitening. Vital whitening is applied on live nerves, while non-vital whitening is applied on a tooth which has had root canals dental treatment before.
Vital teeth whitening can be performed in your home or in a dental office. In the office, the dentist can use a stronger whitening gel.
In this method, the dentist applies a protective solution on patient’s gums, which protects them during the teeth whitening process. Then the special whitening solution is applied on the teeth. The solution usually contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. This breaks the stains into smaller pieces, which changes the colour of enamel. This procedure is more effective when the teeth have yellowish coloration than grayish or darker coloration.
Sometimes the dentist may use a specialized laser or light to accelerate the process.
After the bleach is applied, the dentist uses a special light or laser on your teeth – it is also called laser teeth whitening. If the stains are extensive, you may need a couple more whitening sessions.
At – home whitening
At-home whitening procedure can be performed with the help of special gels, toothpaste, rinses, chewing gums and other natural methods.
The Dentist will give you a teeth whitening kit which includes a special gel. The gel contains carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, which have whitening effects on your teeth. They should be applied daily for two to three weeks. You should follow the instructions carefully.
The natural method is using malic acid, which is found in apples and apple juices and has whitening effects. Excessive consuming of acidic beverages can dissolve the enamel layer so it should be used wisely.
Most of the time you get almost the same result after each teeth whitening procedure. Depend on procedure, the period can vary. Whilst you can get a brighter smile in hours in a dentist’s office, you need weeks to get same results at home.
What causes teeth stains?
Food and beverages
Tea, coffee, and red wine are the most popular staining factors. They have some intense color pigments in them which cause stains on the enamel surface.
The two chemicals, tar and nicotine within tobacco can cause stains on teeth. While tar’s color is naturally dark, nicotine is colorless unless it is mixed with oxygen.
In time, enamel, which is the white shell of teeth, gets thinner and the yellowish part called dentin, becomes more visible.
Antibiotics and other drugs
Antibiotics have tetracycline and doxycycline in them. These materials cause permanent stains on teeth. Also, discoloration of teeth can be a side effect of some drugs or antipsychotics. Teeth whitening process doesn’t work on these kinds of stains.
There are some other factors causing stains. The list can include:
- Natural aging process
- Poor dental care
- Dental trauma
- Enamel hypoplasia
The side effects and risks of teeth whitening
Even though teeth whitening or bleaching complications are uncommon, you can experience increased sensitivity or pain. In most cases sensitivity is temporary.
You will be guided by your dentist in order to avoid complications.
Operation Time and Recovery
The operation takes between 30 and 60 minutes and it doesn’t require any recovery period. You can turn back to your daily life, you can travel by plain and go to work immediately after the process is done.
How much does teeth whitening cost?
The cheapest teeth whitening price is €85, but it can go as high as €550. The reason is that the prices vary from country to country. Average teeth whitening costs €243, based on a study made on the price list of 30 clinics. The clinics charge almost the same prices for laser teeth whitening as well.
For instance, dental clinics in Poland charge minimum €107 for teeth whitening and it starts from €150 in Turkey. The prices for the same procedure might go up to €290 in U.K.
Teeth whitening is not a permanent process.
After your teeth whitening procedure you should watch out what you consume, otherwise you will need to repeat the treatment in a short period of time. Aliments that we consume in our daily life such as coffee, tea, coke or soy sauce might be the main factors that cause your teeth stains. Also, one of the main reasons for teeth staining are cigarettes. Nicotine can affect the results of teeth whitening treatment shortly after the treatment. In order to maintain a brighter smile, try to use a straw when you drink beverages and avoid certain aliments that produce teeth staining. One of the most effective ways to improve the color of your teeth is to avoid or quit smoking.