Almost everyone has experienced periods of time where their teeth are not as white as they wish. Generally, discoloration in teeth can occur for multiple reasons and will likely affect every individual, regardless of genes, at least one in their lifetime. Because of this, trying to find an effective teeth whitening process can be a difficult and time-consuming process. But when you’re paired with the right doctor, the process can not only last longer but be more effective overall.
What is Teeth Whitening?
The process of teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that is responsible for brightening the shade of color on your teeth by removing certain substances that cause discoloration of your teeth. For instance, stains, food particles, and other bacteria are usually removed in the teeth whitening process.
The whitening process can be done both professionally as well as non-professionally by yourself at home. But the likelihood of your experiencing side effects from the process is greater when you attempt to whiten your teeth by yourself. When done by a professional, the process can be more effective creating a whiter shade on your teeth, letting the results last longer, and maintaining the overall health of your teeth for longer periods of time. The procedure is not permanent and must be repeated in order to maintain the best results.
There are many different causes for the discoloration of your teeth, including anywhere from drinking coffee to smoking cigarettes. When you consume certain foods and beverages all day, particles from those substances then come into contact with your teeth and accumulate there, causing stains, buildup, and discoloration. Some other causes of tooth discoloration may be drinking dark-colored drinks, tea, poor personal hygiene, and simply from aging.
Teeth Whitening Procedure
Since the whitening process can either be done professionally or non-professionally at home, the procedure can be done in a multitude of ways. When you get your teeth whitened professionally, there are two types of processes, which is either vital whitening or non-vital whitening. Vital whitening occurs for teeth that contain active nerves, and the later is performed on teeth that no longer have active nerves. And at home, the procedure can be completed using a variety of methods, including either whitening toothpaste and brushes, whitening trays, or teeth-whitening strips.
The vital teeth whitening process begins with the doctor applying a protective substance to your teeth and gums, which is responsible for reducing the amount of gum irritation after the procedure is finished. After the doctor applies this substance to your teeth, they will then apply a hydrogen peroxide gel substance to the surfaces of your teeth. This hydrogen peroxide gel is activated when it comes into contact with a special light or laser. When the gel is activated, it then begins the whitening process, where the substance bleaches your teeth to brighten their color.
For the procedure of non-vital whitening, discoloration that occurs on teeth that no longer have active nerves will generally be coming from the inside of a particular tooth, since it has most likely has experienced some type of dental work in the past. For instance, individual teeth that have had root canals on them may experience discoloration over time as the inside of the tooth is accumulating bacteria, food particles, or other substances.
In this procedure, since the discoloration is most likely occurring on the inside of the tooth, the doctor will put a whitening agent on the inside of the affected tooth. After the whitening agent is applied, the doctor will then put a temporary filling overtop of that whitening agent in order for the substance to maintain its color for a longer period of time.
Non-professional Teeth Whitening
Whitening toothpaste, brushes, and rinses act as cleaners that are capable of lifting stains from the surfaces of your teeth, eliminating any discoloration that the stains causes. These products are also recommended to individuals that have received a professional whitening procedure for aftercare in order to ensure that the results of the whitening procedure will last for a longer period of time.
Whitening strips are placed on your teeth in order to lighten your teeth’s color a few shades brighter. These strips are capable of whitening your teeth because they often contain hydrogen peroxide substance on the inside of the strip in order to lift stains from your teeth. These whitening strips are generally used when teeth only have to be whitened for short periods of time.
Paint-on whitening formulas are capable of whitening your teeth because they involve a whitening formula that’s simply brushed or painted on to allow your teeth to appear brighter. This method usually only lasts for a short period of time, since it can be washed off when you brush your teeth.
At-home whitening trays are common among individuals that do not have the funds to have their teeth professionally cleaned. This method involves a doctor creating molds of your teeth in order to make trays. Along with the trays, you will receive a strong bleaching substance that you can use at home to brighten your teeth. Some of these at-home whitening trays also come with bendable mouthpieces, which are said to be more effective as well as more comfortable.
Side Effects of Teeth Whitening
The overall process of whitening your teeth can result in a few minor side effects, such as increased sensitivity in your teeth and gums, mild gum irritation, and even enamel erosion if the process is done too many times. But these results are only warned of in cases where the procedure is done non-professionally and at home. When done professionally, the doctor performing the procedure is highly educated and aware of the entire process’ effects.
Given the side effects, it may be questionable whether you should whiten your teeth professionally or simply do it yourself at home. But you’re advised to receive professional whitening because of the side effects that can occur when done by non-professionals. Not only that, but when the procedure is done by a professional, the results are likely to not only look better, but they will likely last longer as well.
Marc Lazare is both the president as well as the founder of Cosmetic Innovations. Not only that, but he’s also widely recognized as a lecturer, dental columnist, author, teacher, consultant, and inventor. He is a member of the faculty at the NYU College of Dentistry and even began the Teeth Whitening Division at the North Shore University Hospital while using the most updated technologies. To make an appointment with Dr. Marc Lazare, call 212-861-2599.