What you should know about teeth whitening
As we get older, our teeth naturally get yellower. It’s actually caused by the inner part of the tooth, called dentin – not the outer enamel – that causes the color change. As we age and teeth repair themselves, the newer dentin grows in darker. Our enamel also gets thinner, due to general wear and tear, and acidic foods that eat away at the outer layer, and the dentin reflects through the enamel, making teeth look yellow. Genetics, certain medications, trauma, silver fillings, tobacco, and constant staining from dark drinks, like wine, tea and coffee also contribute to teeth that are less than pearly white.
Teeth whitening is absolutely safe. While there may be a few side effects, the process itself, as long as you follow the product’s or your dentist’s directions, is approved and effective.
There are many approaches to whitening teeth, from drugstore products to customized dental trays and in-office treatments, so let’s get bright to it!
It should be noted that teeth whitening is absolutely safe. While there may be a few side effects, the process itself, as long as you follow the product’s or your dentist’s directions, is approved and effective. Whitening does not work on caps, veneers, crowns or fillings. It also won’t reverse tooth discoloration caused by medications or a tooth injury. Remember that stains cannot be removed overnight. The whitening process can take as few as four days and up to several months.
Over-the-Counter Whitening Products
Whitening toothpastes or strips from the drug or grocery store with the a ADA Seal of Acceptance have additional polishing agents than standard toothpastes. While they can remove stains on the surface, they generally do not change the color of teeth, as they are applied to the outer surface of the teeth, rather than the interior dentin, the cause of yellowing.
Sometimes called chairside bleaching, this procedure usually gets the job done in only one office visit. Your dentist will apply one of two tooth bleaches, hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, to break stains into smaller pieces, reducing the yellow color concentration for brighter teeth.
Dentist-issued At-Home Bleaching
Your dentist can also make a molding of your teeth and provide you with a customized tray for at-home whitening. While this process takes longer, usually about two weeks, it can be a less expensive option than in-office bleaching and is still under the guidance of a professional.
For a convenient and effective whitening solution, Tru Family Dental is a provider of Opalescence whitening products and offers Opalescence Go, a pre-made kit that is ready to use with everything you need for whitening at home. This is a professional alternative to over the counter whitening options and uses gels and a tray to penetrate your enamel. Your dentist provides a consultation to make recommendations that will allow you to get the best results in a time frame that works for you. Your dentist can also help you understand how the whitening process works.
Light or Laser Whitening
While you may have heard about this treatment, also called halogen or LED whitening, studies have shown this procedure is not effective in lightening teeth and can even damage the teeth nerves. Do not go to mall kiosks that promise brightening services, as they are generally run by staff who don’t have healthcare training nor proper licensing.
Whitening Side Effects
Regardless of the procedure, you may experience tooth sensitivity within 24 hours of being exposed to the whitening gel, if the peroxide gets through the enamel, and irritates gums or the tooth nerve. In most cases, this is temporary, and can be alleviated with an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen. Finally, you may suffer from nausea or vomiting if you accidentally ingest the gel in the take-home whitening kits.
Overuse of whiteners can also damage the tooth enamel or gums, so be sure to follow directions and talk to your dentist.
There’s also a relapse effect, where teeth will adjust slightly in shade, so remember to go beyond your desired whiteness, as the brightness might fade slightly.
Contact us to set up an appointment today.
Posted In: Cosmetic Dentistry & Whitening