Tooth whitening is a safe and effective approach to restoring the natural color of teeth by removing surface stains. It lightens the natural color of your teeth without removing any enamel. It won’t completely change the color, but it will lighten the current tone.
Difference between teeth whitening and teeth bleaching
A tooth whitening technique is a process of restoring the natural color of teeth by removing stains from the tooth surface. Whiteners are antibacterial agents that can be found in toothpaste and mouthwashes. Teeth bleaching, on the other hand, is the process of lightening teeth beyond their natural color. Bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide and Carbamide peroxide are frequently used in tooth whitening procedures. Peroxide is used in bleaching procedures to remove both surface and deep stains from teeth while also whitening them beyond their natural color.
Why does teeth’s natural color fade?
Your smile may be kept bright and white by brushing your teeth and keeping your mouth clean. The natural color of our teeth, on the other hand, fades with time as the enamel wears away, making the dentin more visible and allowing the yellow color of the dentin to show through. During normal eating, the dentin remains intact, while the enamel develops millions of small cracks. Over time, stains and debris accumulate in these breaks, as well as the gaps between both the crystalline enamel rods. As a result, over time, the teeth grow dull and unsightly.
What causes teeth’s natural color to fade?
- Age: Teeth discoloration has a direct relation with age. As we grow old our teeth darken because of wear and tear and stain accumulation making our teeth darken and lose their natural color.
- Eating habits: Regularly consuming dark-colored beverages and foods like red wine, coffee, tea, cola, carrots, oranges, and acidic foods, like citrus fruits and vinegar, also deteriorate enamel making the surface more transparent, enabling more of the dentin’s yellow tint to show through.
- Smoking: If you are a regular smoker, the nicotine in cigarettes causes brownish deposits to form on the tooth surface, which gradually seep into the structure and create intrinsic discoloration.
- Genetic traits: There are also genetic traits that become more noticeable as you get older. Teeth that are thinner and transparent, particularly the front teeth, contain less pigment that can be bleached. Transparency, according to cosmetic dentists, is the one issue that no amount of tooth whitening can address.
What are teeth whitening procedures?
- In-Office Whitening: In-office bleaching is the quickest way to whiten teeth. During in-office bleaching, the whitening product is applied directly to the teeth. These objects can be used in conjunction with heat, a specialized light, or a laser. To see benefits, only one 30- to 60-minute treatment is required. However, to see measurable benefits, multiple sessions are usually required. In-office bleaching, on the other hand, yields impressive effects after the first session. This is also the most expensive whitening procedure.
- Tray-based tooth whiteners: A tray-based tooth whitening technique involves filling a mouth guard-like tray with a gel whitening solution containing a peroxide-bleaching agent, which can be acquired over the counter or through a dentist. The tray is worn for a period, usually 4 weeks, depending on the degree of discoloration and desired amount of whitening.
There are also some techniques that can be adapted to whiten teeth at home, these are:
- Using teeth whitening toothpaste.
- Using whitening strips.
- Whitening rinses.