The value of an attractive smile is indisputable. We try numerous techniques to forever preserve our smiles and to fend off unwanted oral felons, however, sometimes your smile may be threatened by some devious factors. Pigmented foods and beverages such as wine and coffee and maleficent agents such as tobacco are often interlinked with yellowing or unnatural discoloration of the teeth. While brushing and flossing may be adequate measures to keep away plaque and bacteria, teeth staining may not be as easy to get rid of. In a survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry when people were asked what they’d most like to improve about their smile, the most conspicuous answer was the desire for whiter teeth. With so many people making their dental demands vocal, teeth whitening has come as a savior for all those who have been plagued by the horrifying effects of teeth yellowing.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a minimally invasive and relatively low-cost method of whitening natural teeth without the need for teeth replacement or restoration. Although it does not offer permanent cosmetic appeal, the effects of a single session of teeth whitening are highly pronounced, making it one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments in this modern Insta-ready generation. Teeth whitening cannot completely transform the color of your teeth but can lighten the existing shade to exhibit a perceivable effect.
What has caused my teeth to stain?
Teeth discoloration or staining may be marginalized by a lot of people with the sheer knowledge that it cannot be helped. However, with teeth whitening a majority of your cosmetic dental distaste can be corrected. But first, why do teeth stain? Here are some of the most common reasons why you may be battling with the wry effects of teeth discoloration.
- Foods and beverages: Coffee, tea, red wine, and many other pigmented foods can cause staining on your teeth as they contain pigments that adhere to the outer, white portion of your tooth enamel. These are called chromogens.
- Tobacco use: Chemicals found in tobacco specifically tar and nicotine can cause yellowish or dark-brown discoloration on the tooth surfaces upon consumption.
- Age: As you age, you will be more prone to teeth wear and tear. When such friction is applied on your teeth surfaces the underlying dentin may be exposed. Dentin, naturally yellowish in tint, when exposed, can give the teeth its stained off-whitish look.
- Trauma: If you have recently received a blow to the face as a result of accidents or significant trauma, your teeth may change color to a darker-than-normal hue.
- Medications: Teeth darkening can be a side effect of certain medications like antihistamines and hypertension medications. Chemotherapy and head and neck radiation can also darken teeth.
What does teeth whitening involve?
Professional teeth whitening is performed by trained dental professionals. Some popular in-office whiteners such as Zoom, Opalescence, and Lumibrite whitening are highly reliable and offer great results. A teeth-whitening process involves an intricate network of steps.
- The dentist puts a rubber shield or gel on your gums to protect them
- The whitening agent is applied to your teeth using a specially fabricated tray that fits into your mouth like a mouthguard
The active ingredient in the whitening agent is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active agent is broken down, oxygen is released into the enamel on the teeth, successfully turning the tooth color lighter. The total treatment can be done within three to four weeks and you may see satisfactory results in as little as one week.
Are you a candidate for in-office teeth whitening?
In-office teeth whitening is safe for almost everyone. Healthy teeth and gums are the mere criteria for you to qualify for a teeth whitening session. If you have any underlying dental conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease, the concentrated bleaching gel my cause you severe pain and sensitivity. Thus, such health conditions should be first addressed before you seek a teeth whitening session with your dentist.
Are there any risks to in-office teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening, if done right and with expertise presents no noteworthy side-effects. However, it must be iterated that deep or “intrinsic” stains may not be as effectively treated with whitening. Some other potential risks of teeth whitening are:
- Sensitivity: Bleaching can cause a temporary increase in sensitivity both to temperature and pressure, however, this is likely to subside with time.
- Gum irritation: Your gums may be inundated with the sudden high-concentration bleach exposure and you may experience some degree of gum irritation.
- Technicolor teeth: Restorations such as bonding and dental crowns are not affected by bleach so when the surrounding teeth get whitened, the resulting teeth are known as technicolor teeth.
The American Association of Orthodontists found that nearly 90% of all patients evaluated requested tooth whitening, whereas, in a study conducted by the American Dental Association, 80% of respondents felt that having whiter and healthier teeth helped them feel good about their experience and played a vital role in furthering their career. Teeth can make or break your smile. Don’t compromise with your smile any longer and get a whiter, brighter, and dazzling smile immediately with teeth whitening!