Teeth whitening is a safe cosmetic procedure that lifts stains on the teeth. Every tooth has a soft dentin layer and a hard enamel layer that protects the inner layers.
Most whitening treatments use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide bleaching chemicals. Occasionally, a whitening gel may be combined with curing lights or lasers. For more information, just visit Boca Dental and Braces to proceed.
Many options are available over the counter for those looking to get a whiter smile without going to the dentist. The most common products are whitening toothpastes, rinses, strips, and gels that contain mild abrasives or chemical whitening agents that help lighten stains on teeth. However, these products typically don’t have the strength to remove deep stains and are best used as a maintenance routine.
Over-the-counter whitening kits usually include some form of peroxide-based bleaching agent. This is generally either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide and is often formulated to have a low concentration to be safe for at-home use. Some of these kits also have trays holding the whitening gel. This method allows a higher concentration of the whitening agent to be held against the teeth and can lead to more significant results than regular whitening toothpaste.
There are several different ways to wear these types of whitening products; each kit will come with specific instructions on properly applying the product. These can vary from wearing it for a short time, for a particular number of days, or even overnight. Also, whitening pens can be applied directly to the teeth to whiten on the spot. These can be particularly effective for those with lighter staining but will not produce the same dramatic results as a whitening strip or gel.
In addition to whitening agents, these over-the-counter kits can have other ingredients to enhance the whitening experience. Some of these may include glycerin, which is sometimes added to a whitening formula to make it more comfortable for the teeth. Hydrated silica, a mineral found in quartz and sand, can also be included to improve the texture of the whitening gel and increase its viscosity so it stays on the teeth longer.
Another ingredient that can be found in over-the-counter whitening products is stannous chloride, an antiseptic and flavoring agent that some people find pleasant tasting. While this is an effective and safe whitening agent, it can cause tooth sensitivity in some patients, especially those with sensitive teeth or gums.
Most at-home whitening products contain peroxide, which lightens tooth enamel when used regularly over days or weeks. Some products have lower concentrations than others for people with sensitive teeth. Most kits are designed to be used for up to 14 days.
Most OTC whitening products target extrinsic stains — discolorations on the surface of teeth, which can be caused by coffee, tea, red wine, and smoking. However, stains can also be caused by genetic disorders and medications taken during childhood. In contrast, in-office whitening is much more effective at targeting intrinsic stains, which result from discoloring the inner structure of the tooth.
In-office whitening is more time-consuming than OTC whitening products. A professional whitening session takes about an hour and involves a tray with a whitening gel provided by your dentist. The trays are custom-made to fit your mouth, so they can reach all parts of the tooth without missing any spots. A whitening laser or light may be used to speed up the process.
Some patients find that at-home whitening is a good option for them, and some even prefer it to in-office whitening. However, it is important to understand that seeing the same results can take much longer than a professional treatment. Also, the whitening product should be used correctly to avoid causing pain or burning the gums.
The best way to keep your teeth whiter is to practice good oral hygiene, brush twice daily, floss daily, and drink plenty of water. Some food and beverage habits also help, such as avoiding acidic foods or drinks that can damage the enamel and make it look yellower.
Before you start whitening at home, you should have had a professional dental cleaning in the month or two prior. This ensures that your teeth are healthy and free of buildup, so they will be able to absorb the bleaching agent better. Also, if you have any issues like gum disease or cavities, these should be treated before trying a whitening product. These issues will not only cause painful whitening but also make any results less noticeable.
Many people who are unhappy with the color of their teeth turn to professional whitening. Typically done at a dentist’s office, in-office whitening involves bleaching solutions with higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, a whitening agent. During in-office whitening, your dentist may protect your gum tissue to minimize irritation, and the whitening product is applied directly to the tooth enamel. The whitening process can be completed in just one or two 30- to 60-minute sessions. Afterward, you can maintain the results with custom-fitted whitening trays worn several hours a day for up to a month.
Your dentist will review your smile and discuss your goals to determine whether you are a good candidate for in-office whitening. They will then use a shade guide to compare your current tooth color to the desired outcome of your whitening treatment. This step gives you a realistic benchmark to help you understand what shade your teeth can achieve and also helps avoid unrealistic expectations for how bright your smile can become.
Before whitening begins, your dentist usually polishes your teeth to remove superficial stains and plaque. This step is important because the whitening gel cannot penetrate through calculus and stains. Dental cleaning also exposes any cavities or leaking dental fillings that need to be repaired before whitening. In addition, your dentist may apply fluoride to prevent decay after the whitening procedure is complete.
Once the whitening process is complete, your dentist will rinse the whitening solution from your mouth and may apply a remineralizing toothpaste or fluoride to help resensitize your teeth. They may also recommend wearing a mouthguard during sleep, as whitening can cause grinding and clenching of the teeth. In addition, your dentist will provide you with a supply of custom-fitted whitening trays and instructions on using them.
Some in-office whitening products claim to accelerate the whitening process by using heat or an intense blue light with a wavelength between 480 nm and 520 nm to activate the chromogens in the whitening agents. However, a systematic review of these products by Buchalla and Attin3 found no added benefits from light-activated whitening.
Custom teeth whitening trays are tailored to fit your mouth for optimal comfort and effectiveness. They use professional-grade whitening gel with higher concentrations of whitening agents than over-the-counter products. These higher concentrations mean that your whitening treatments will produce more significant results over a shorter time frame.
Custom-fitted whitening trays also reduce the risk of gum irritation. Over-the-counter whitening trays tend to be one-size-fits-all, which can cause the bleaching gel to leak out onto the soft tissues of your gums. This can lead to discomfort, irritation, and a lack of effective whitening.
Your dentist will take an impression of your mouth and create a set of customized whitening trays for you. While this process may take longer than purchasing a teeth whitening kit at the drugstore, it is much safer and produces more impressive results.
Unlike other whitening products, customized whitening trays allow you to control the frequency and duration of your whitening treatments. This will enable you to achieve the exact shade of white that you want for your smile. Additionally, you can adjust the intensity of your whitening treatments to manage any sensitivity during the process.
When you’re finished, your smile will be brighter and more even. However, you’ll still need to maintain your new shade by keeping up with regular cleanings and avoiding staining foods or drinks. Using interdental brushes, water flossers, or a combination of these methods will help you preserve the results of your whitening treatment.
Aside from whitening existing natural teeth, your dentist can also use custom-fitted trays to bleach your dental fillings, crowns, or other restorations that are attached to your teeth. This can be a great option for patients who have discolored dental work but don’t want to undergo a full cosmetic procedure.
Whitening is an easy and affordable way to improve your smile’s appearance. While a whiter smile is important, maintaining it is important to protect your oral health and prevent tooth decay and other complications. Talk to your dentist about whitening options that best meet your needs, and schedule an appointment today.