9 things you should know about teeth whitening

Whiter teeth is considered a mark of health and beauty. So people spend millions to attain that beautiful smile. Teeth whitening or teeth bleaching is one of the ways in which your dentist can help you have whiter teeth. Here are some of the commonly asked questions on teeth bleaching you should know before you meet your dentist.

What is tooth whitening?

“Tooth whitening” or “tooth bleaching”  is a simple tooth colour lightening procedure. The tooth lightening process does not remove any tooth material. Generally, chemicals with hydrogen per oxide or carbide per oxide is used. Although colour of the tooth does not change completely, your tooth becomes several shades lighter with the bleaching.

Is tooth bleaching permanent?

Tooth whitening or bleaching is not permanent. The effect of the bleaching procedure can last from 6 months to upto 2 years. A lot depends on the food habits of the patient. Smoking, eating spicy food with staining ingredients like turmeric, drinking red wine, tea or coffee that stain teeth can affect the whitening effect.

Is tooth whitening safe?

Tooth whitening procedure is safe and is best done in the dental office. Hence, you should approach a registered dental practitioner for tooth whitening. Your dentist will guide you on the best methods of bleaching, depending on your requirements. Contrary to popular belief, teeth whitening does not cause serious side effects. Some people can have tooth sensitivity and others may experience gum irritation. These symptoms are reversible soon after the procedure. However, pregnant women are advised against whitening. Since bleaching is a cosmetic procedure, you can avoid it until delivery.

Who should avoid teeth bleaching?

Here are some of the reasons you should avoid bleaching

Who can do teeth bleaching?

A registered Dental practitioner can perform the office bleach at the dental clinic. Your dentist will use different systems of bleach to help you get the desired whiteness. A chemical agent, generally, a peroxide is used to bleach your teeth. Using light to activate the chemicals is a little controversial, as some studies have shown that the light can damage the nerves of your teeth.

Can I whiten my teeth at home?

Home teeth bleaching kits are available in the market. However, since the same tray size may not fit everyone, you should get a custom tray fabricated by your dentist. You can then use the gels that are available for home bleach.  However be aware that the home bleach gels are not very effective in whitening your teeth. Your dentist will advise a home bleach as a follow up after a professional bleaching procedure.

Will a ‘whitening tooth paste’ make my teeth white?

All tooth pastes contain a mild abrasive. The efficiency of a ‘Whitening tooth paste’ to make your teeth white is still questionable. The tooth paste can remove the surface stains, but cannot change the colour of your teeth. What you should also remember is that overzealous brushing can damage your teeth.

Will my teeth become yellow after the bleaching effect wears off?

The effect of teeth whitening does not last forever. Your teeth can look a little dull after the initial bleaching effect wears off. Avoid foods that can stain teeth. Over-whitening by using too much whitening gel or reapplying too often can permanently damage teeth. Talk to your dentist before starting the procedure, so you get a clear idea of the treatment outcome.

Will my dentist bleach my tooth cap?

Bleaching procedures are done for natural teeth. Th chemical peroxide that is used has its action on the enamel of the tooth. Hence, it is not a procedure for prosthesis ( Artificial teeth ). Suppose, you have a crown in the mouth, then your dentist will try to keep the whitening procedure to the shade closest to that of the crown.


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