There are a variety of teeth whitening options, but only peroxide chemicals have true bleaching power. Over-the-counter and in-office treatments use hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, breaking down and oxidizing dark-pigmented molecules inside the enamel to lighten it.
Many DIY methods, including oil pulling with coconut oil, can harm rather than whiten teeth by wearing down enamel. Consult with your cosmetic dentist in Teeth Whitening Las Vegas to choose the right option for you.
The goal of teeth whitening is to improve the appearance of your smile and give you more confidence. While there are many ways to make your teeth whiter, a professional whitening session is the most effective and safest option.
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry treatment that uses a bleaching agent to lighten the color of your enamel and dentin. This treatment can remove mild stains caused by certain foods or beverages and discoloration from medications, such as antibiotics. It is important to know that not all whitening treatments are the same, and it is important to consult with your dentist before deciding which whitening method is right for you.
Whitening agents break apart stain compounds on your teeth using a chemical reaction known as oxidation. These reactions can be used to reduce the intensity of your tooth discoloration or eliminate it. Hydrogen peroxide is a common whitening agent in over-the-counter (OTC) products and most in-office whitening solutions. Other whitening agents include carbamide peroxide, another form of hydrogen peroxide.
Extrinsic staining is the most common source of discoloration on your teeth. These stains appear on the outside of your teeth and are usually caused by coffee, tea, red wine, dark fruits, sodas, tobacco use, and certain medications. During a professional whitening, a whitening gel is typically applied to your teeth for 15- to 30-minute increments while exposed to high-intensity whitening lights.
In-office whitening can be done with a gel or a tray customized to fit your mouth. The whitening gel is placed over your gum line, and the whitening process is accelerated using high-intensity lighting. The whitening process is complete when your teeth have reached the desired shade of brightness, which can vary from person to person.
While numerous whitening options are available, the best way to ensure that your teeth are as white as possible is by scheduling a whitening appointment at our North Hollywood or Thousand Oaks dental office. At-home whitening kits contain lower concentrations of bleaching agents, and they may not achieve the same brightness level as you would get with a professional whitening service.
Before any whitening treatment, having your dentist examine and assess your smile is important. This will identify any issues that need to be addressed before the whitening process starts, such as gum disease or tooth sensitivity. These issues can interfere with the success of the whitening treatment or even make your teeth more sensitive during and after the treatment. These issues must be treated with other treatments such as dental cleanings or restorations like veneers or crowns before they can be whitened.
Before whitening, avoiding eating or drinking any foods or beverages that can stain your teeth is recommended, as this will help prevent stains on the newly whitened areas of your teeth. This is especially important in the first 24 hours after a whitening treatment, as your teeth are extremely vulnerable to staining. Brushing and flossing regularly before and after your whitening treatment is also a good idea.
Two types of compounds cause tooth discoloration and staining: chromogens (color or darker shades) that are accumulated in the tooth (intrinsic) or on the surface of the tooth (extrinsic). The whitening process works by bleaching these chromogens using a hydrogen peroxide solution, which breaks down the bonds between the chromogen and the surrounding enamel.
To start the whitening procedure, your dentist will isolate the soft tissue with a resin-based gum barrier, then paint it with a light-curable whitening gel containing 25-38% hydrogen peroxide. This is then exposed to a special blue light that activates the hydrogen peroxide, breaking down the stain pigments on your teeth. This is done in sessions that last between 12 and 20 minutes.
A dental whitening session can brighten your teeth in several shades in just one session, though it may take a few sessions to achieve the desired shade. Your dentist will let you know how many treatments it will take to reach your ideal shade and recommend re-treatment schedules to maintain your results. These re-treatments will usually be needed every six months to a year, depending on your tooth color and the type of whitening used.
- The Treatment
The whitening process is typically performed in the dentist’s office. Before the treatment, the dentist will perform a clinical examination, take a health and dental history, observe hard and soft tissues, check the placement and condition of any restorations, and sometimes take x-rays to ensure the tooth is healthy enough for bleaching.
Over the years, teeth lose their youthful whiteness and become dull due to wear and tear and accumulated stains. Some stains can be removed with toothpaste or mouthwash, while others require more advanced methods to lighten the discoloration. During the whitening procedure, the patient will be asked to rinse often and keep the mouth open for up to an hour to allow the whitening agent to work. Most whitening treatments use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the bleaching ingredient. The concentration of the bleaching agent and the length of time it is applied to the teeth determine how much the stain will be lightened. Some whitening products are designed to remove intrinsic and extrinsic stains, while others bleach the chromogens on the tooth’s surface, leaving intrinsic stains unaffected.
Some patients may experience increased tooth sensitivity or mild gingival irritation during the whitening procedure. These side effects are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of the treatment finishing.
The most common reason for tooth sensitivity following the treatment is from an ill-fitting whitening tray that prevents the whitening agent from reaching all of the tooth’s surfaces. If true, the sensitivity should resolve once the whitening tray is repositioned correctly.
Another cause of sensitivity may be the oxidizing effect of the hydrogen peroxide during the whitening treatment. This can result in the formation of organic byproducts, which are known to produce a stinging sensation in the mouth. Recent technological advances have minimized the oxidizing agent needed for the desired whitening shade.
- Post-Treatment Care
After the treatment, you will need to avoid certain foods and drinks. These include: -Colored drinks (such as red wine, coffee, tea, colas, and alcoholic beverages) -Curry or sour foods such as pickles – Chocolate and colored candy – Highly pigmented vegetables, fruits, and berries (such as pomegranate, beets, tomatoes, kale, and purple berries)
It is also important to avoid any foods that could stain your teeth. You will need to wait for an hour after your treatment before eating any food or drinking any liquid. This is because the whitening gel opens the pores of the enamel and leaves the teeth extra vulnerable to staining agents. If you do eat something, be sure to use a straw. This will help minimize contact between the teeth and the liquid.
Avoiding very hot and cold foods or drinks during the first few days after the whitening procedure is also important. This can cause additional sensitivity, which can be eased by using a desensitizing toothpaste or remineralizing gel.
The results of a teeth whitening procedure can vary dramatically from one person to another. Some people will experience instant, dramatic results, while others may need more time to reach their desired result. Generally, younger individuals will see greater results because their tooth color is lighter and more responsive to bleaching than the yellow-brown hues seen in older adults.
It is important to have regular dental checkups after a teeth whitening session. Not only will this help keep your gums healthy, but it will also give the dentist a chance to catch any potential problems before they become major.
Teeth whitening is a great way to enhance the beauty of your smile and increase self-confidence. While there is no guarantee that the whitening will completely remove all stains, it will give you a whiter, brighter smile. Your newly whitened teeth will last months or even years with proper care. The key is to follow a few simple tips and maintain consistent whitening sessions with a professional. Eventually, you will have a beautiful smile that you will be proud to show off!