We all want a pearly white smile.
A confident smile represents us and can change others’ perceptions of us.
However, our daily intake of colored foods and beverages and poor oral hygiene does lead to teeth stains.
Therefore, if you want shiny white teeth, you will have to look into Teeth Whitening.
This article covers all the ways you can get teeth whitening so that you can choose wisely to get a confident smile.
Why do you need Teeth Whitening?
Your teeth can become stained either externally or from the inside.
This discoloration is either extrinsic or intrinsic.
If you have healthy gums and no fillings, you can easily get teeth whitening treatment.
It responds best to yellow tones of discoloration.
Teeth staining is a result of eating and smoking habits.
Colored foods like berries, beverages like coffee, tea, red wine, and carbonated drinks can stain your teeth.
Smoking also leads to yellow teeth therefore, extrinsic discoloration happens on the outside of your teeth.
You can use whitening gels and home remedies to treat extrinsic discoloration.
Teeth stains appear within the tooth due to illness, infection or age.
You will have to go to a teeth whitening clinic to get rid of this discoloration.
Only a professional, either a dentist or dental hygienist will either bleach or use other teeth whitening procedures to whiten your teeth.
Options for Teeth Whitening
Health professionals consider teeth whitening a medical procedure.
Therefore, it is recommended you get treated by a dentist.
However, there are home remedies and over-the-counter kits that you can try at home.
Some whitening gels are recommended by your dentist to use at home rather than in the teeth whitening clinic.
Your dentist can decide what method will be most suitable for you.
However, it will depend on your age, oral health, presence of denture and veneers, the cost and the extent of discoloration.
In a teeth whitening clinic
Professional teeth whitening is carried out by a dentist in a Teeth Whitening clinic.
At Dr. Amal Al Qedrah Medical Center we provide teeth whitening services.
Dentists use different methods for the treatment.
Most bleach teeth using about 10 percent carbamide oxide.
This is a safe method to bleach teeth as carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea to target the stains in a chemical reaction.
It is applied directly to the teeth and for more effective results, your dentist may also use heat, light or laser.
Dentists at Dr. Amal Al Qedrah Medical Center use the Philips Zoom Whitening system.
This procedure decreases your teeth sensitivity and provides immediate results in about 45 minutes to an hour.
Your teeth can effectively get 8 shades lighter.
A whitening procedure carried out in a teeth whitening clinic can be long lasting.
This is because the hydrogen peroxide concentration in the products used by a dentist is higher than in over0the-counter whitening kits.
Therefore, you can get quicker, proper, and long-lasting treatment with a dentist.
You will see results by the end of one treatment. However, you may be recommended to visit more than once.
Tray tooth whiteners
Your dentist may also make customized trays to fit in your mouth to be used at home with a whitening gel.
You fill a tray resembling a mouthguard with a whitening gel.
This gel contains hydrogen peroxide and that trays are worn every day for 4 weeks.
The amount of time you need to wear them depends on the extent of discoloration.
You can also get these trays over the counter but it is better to get a customized tray from your dentist.
Whitening toothpaste can remove surface-level stains.
They are obviously not as effective as a procedure in a teeth whitening clinic, however, they can have a mild effect.
They contain gel polishing agents and chemicals alongside mild abrasives that can lighten up to one shade.
Whitening toothpaste does not contain bleach and carbamide peroxide that goes deep into the tooth and can lighten teeth by three to eight shades.
Gels and strips
Whitening gels are applied directly to your teeth.
These gels contain peroxide-based therefore they are stronger than whitening toothpaste.
However, they still may not be as strong.
You can apply it with the help of a brush and you will see initial results in a matter of days.
However, you may see the final results by applying them regularly for four months.
Whitening strips also contain whitening gels. You can apply these clear strips with peroxide-based gels directly to your mouth.
Carefully read the instructions and you will see proper results in a period of four months.
A new whitening product in the market is whitening rinses.
They work like a standard mouthwash, removes bad breath, avoids plaque buildup and reduces chances of gum disease.
However, they also contain hydrogen peroxide that helps whitening teeth.
All you need to do is to use it for about a minute in your mouth before brushing.
However, it is the least effective method.
The chemicals are hardly in contact with the teeth. Compared to over the counter gels and strips, the rinses stay for a minute in your mouth without direct contact whereas gels and strips are applied for 30 minutes.
Changes will take time to appear. You may achieve effective results by 12 weeks.
Any home-based method should be first consulted with a dentist.
You may find it harmless but it can cause damage to your oral health without your knowledge.
Some people apply activated charcoal to the teeth however, it is not scientifically proven.
Moreover, some recommend rubbing a banana peel on your teeth regularly to whiten teeth.
Either method may also harm your teeth. In fact, there are also some side effects associated with other teeth whitening options.
The side effects of teeth whitening are temporary.
You may feel a mild sensitivity or irritation in your gums.
You may feel teeth sensitivity immediately after your treatment however, this will reduce with time.
At Dr. Amal Al Qedrah Medical Center’s teeth whitening clinic we use Philips Zoom which helps to reduce your teeth sensitivity.
Your doctor may also prescribe products containing potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride to treat your sensitivity.
Irritation in your gums and tissues is a result of the whitening product coming into contact with your gums.
This usually occurs due to an ill fit mouthpiece tray and is called gingival irritation.
Rest assured these side effects do not last long. Therefore, you will not have to bear them longer.
You can consult your teeth whitening dentist if this causes huge discomfort.
What can you do to handle the side effects:
- Stop the whitening process for a few days so that your teeth can rest
- Reduce the time period of wearing the mouthpiece tray. For instance, wear it for 30 or 45 min instead of 60.
- Remineralize your teeth with a fluoride product. Your doctor may prescribe you a fluoride gel to apply to the mouthpiece and wear it for some time. Afterward, apply the whitening gel.
- Potassium nitrate relieves tooth nerve endings. Toothpaste dealing with tooth sensitivity contains potassium nitrate. Consult your doctor if you want to use toothpaste to reduce your sensitivity after the procedure.
Professional Teeth Whitening versus Home Kits
Teeth whitening is not permanent. It will last as long as you take good care of your teeth.
If you start consuming coffee, tea and colored foods as soon as your treatment ends, you will stain them again in a span of a month.
But if you take good care of your teeth and avoid smoking and food habits that lead to staining then you can maintain them for a year to three years. You may need a touch up afterward.
Though this treatment carried out in a teeth whitening clinic will give you much better and quicker results than over the counter kits and home remedies.
There are certain factors that make a dentist’s treatment more effective.
Home remedies are usually very subtle but even over-the-counter kits available for teeth whitening will have a lesser concentration of hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is responsible for making your teeth lighter and over-the-counter kits only have about 3 percent of hydrogen peroxide.
On the other hand, dentists use products that have up to 43 percent of hydrogen peroxide.
Therefore, dentists use stronger products that give immediate and long-lasting results that you cannot obtain from over-the-counter kits.
Safety and supervision
In a teeth whitening clinic you will have the opportunity to be supervised by a dentist.
They will first check your oral health and take your medical history to see if this process does not pose any risk to you.
Teeth whitening has no effect on dentures, veneers and fillings therefore they will check if you have any existing dental procedures done.
Moreover, they may carry out a dental X-ray if required.
All this will help the dentist to identify the location of restorations, the extent of staining and thus preparing a personalized treatment plan.
You will also be able to choose how many shades lighter you want your teeth to be.
Even if your dentist makes a customized tray, they will check if it causes you any irritation and monitors your whitening progress in further visits.
Dentists also take measures to protect your gums and teeth.
You will wear a mouthguard and they may apply a gel to your gums to prevent any contact with bleach.
Moreover, every piece of equipment used is sterilized hence using safe tools.
Obviously, if you try over-the-counter kits and home remedies, you are on your own.
You will have to ensure that every product you are using is sterilized and does not harm your oral cavity.
You will monitor your own progress without any supervision or guidance.
Mouth trays customized by your dentist are made to fit right in your mouth.
Dentists make these trays so that you can use them at home with whitening gels.
Though over-the-counter mouth trays also exist, however, they are a one size fits all trays.
If they do not fit properly, then there is a high chance of irritation in the gums.
Moreover, your dentist takes the impression of your teeth to make these mouth trays.
This means that they exactly fit your mouth and the gel will come in direct contact with your teeth hence, being more effective.
However, an ill fit mouth tray will not work as efficiently because the product will not even be in proper contact with your teeth.
If you get the procedure in a clinic then you can avoid any issue as the dentist will apply the product directly to your teeth.
Home remedies like using activated charcoal and banana peel are the least expensive way to whiten your teeth.
However, their effectiveness is less and it may take a while till you see any result. Plus, the safety of your oral health is not guaranteed.
Over-the-counter kits are not as expensive as dental procedures.
Rinses, toothpaste and mouth trays will be much cheaper than any dental treatment.
Not everyone should get teeth whitening.
If you have sensitive teeth and gums, allergies or pre-existing restorations then you should consult your dentist if you can get the treatment safely.
We have discussed teeth whitening in detail and even though we recommend you to visit a teeth whitening clinic for your procedure, you should choose what suits you.
A bright, confident smile is just a step away.