Teeth whitening is a dental procedure that is performed by dentists to provide a pearl white appearance to the teeth. It is actually a cosmetic enhancement procedure performed at the teeth’s surface level.
NO, Teeth whitening procedure does not harm the tooth enamel. Teeth Whitening enhances your appearance by helping to brighten up your smile and in turn boost your self-confidence. Apart from providing a better smile, teeth whitening also help in bringing back the teeth’s luster that was lost due to staining over the years.
There are two types of staining:
This type of staining is caused to internal causes or within the teeth. Intrinsic staining can occur due to certain medications, trauma and aging can also discoloration. In some cases, exposure of the teeth to certain minerals during tooth formation is another reason for staining. Intrinsic staining usually are tougher to be removed by bleaching when compared to extrinsic staining.
This type of staining is caused by external factors like our diet, our lifestyle etc. The consumption of foods like highly colored food or drinks like coffee, tea, berries, red wine etc. can lead to the discoloration of the teeth. This type of staining can be removed to an extent by daily brushing and dental cleaning. But the more stubborn ones can be removed only by using bleaching gels. If these stains are left untreated, they can become ingrained.
There are two types of teeth whitening:
This procedure can be performed at home using over the counter methods like gels, chewing gums, rinses, and toothpastes and whitening strips. This method of teeth whitening usually is a short-term solution. This method involves a customized whitening tray, which fits into the teeth but not covering the gum. The bleaching gel gets closely stuck on to the teeth. This has to be worn 30 to 60 minutes a day for about 2 to 3 weeks or until the desired result is achieved.
In-Office Whitening is usually a preferred method since it offers a quicker effect. This method has two different types:
This uses light to activate the hydrogen peroxide bleaching gel. Dentist performs an oral examination first checking for any tooth decay or gum diseases. The dentist would recommend starting the whitening procedure only after the dental issues have treated. The patient is given a shield to protect the lips and gums from the bleaching agent. The bleaching gel is activated by light and the teeth are assessed every 15 minutes. It may require up to 4 times, all in one appointment. After the gel has been applied for 45 minutes, a sensitivity- reduction paste is applied to stop any reactions to bleach. It is a very effective way to whiten teeth without causing damage to the tooth surface.
This method is similar to zoom whitening but it uses laser to activate the bleaching gel.
After the whitening treatment, certain foods and drinks should be avoided to avoid discoloration. Whitening results are known to last for up to three years if we adhere to the proper food and lifestyle.
However, discoloration may occur with natural ageing. Periodic touch up is recommended for those who consume tea, coffee on a daily basis.
Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore