Teeth are never perfectly white. And many people resort to the whitening procedure either at the dentist or at home. In general, the procedure is safe but provided that you follow the conditions and recommendations of the doctor. Teeth Whitening: is it harmful?
In modern dentistry, there is no consensus: is it possible to whiten teeth so as not to harm health. Proponents of the procedure believe that modern techniques are effective and minimally invasive. Opponents say that whitening destroys the natural microflora of the mouth and quickly destroys teeth.
What determines the color of the teeth?
Teeth are 80% inorganic. Natural color and strength depend on heredity. At the heart of each tooth is dentin, formed by calcium and phosphorus salts – yellowish or grayish in color. Above they are covered with pinkish or bluish enamel. The color of the teeth depends on the superposition of these two colors.
There are two reasons why teeth can change color over time:
- Surface staining. Coffee, tea, red wine, products with intense dyes, tobacco. These products can change the shade of enamel, creating local spots or a yellowish coating. You can get rid of such deposits and stains using whitening toothpaste.
- Inner staining. The main problem is diseases, infections, and tooth injuries that change its structure. The color will also inevitably turn yellow during aging as the enamel becomes thinner. With such problems, you will need the help of a professional dentist.
Teeth whitening methods
There are a great many of them, but as a rule, it all comes down to two options or their combination. Physical removal of a yellowish coating (grinding, polishing), chemical whitening, laser whitening (a more gentle type of grinding).
Doctors divide teeth whitening options into 2 general categories:
- used by a dentist in a medical office;
- prescribed by the dentist for use at home;
Before proceeding with teeth whitening, you should consult a specialist. A dentist appointment will help determine:
- type of staining;
- enamel thickness and tooth sensitivity;
- the cost of whitening products.
This procedure is also contraindicated for those who initially have a reaction to cold/hot, caries, pulpitis, and other diseases of the oral cavity.
Teeth whitening in dentistry
Typically, the technique boils down to chemical bleaching with carbamide peroxide (hydroperite). This is a good local antiseptic, which is prescribed for the treatment of stomatitis and tonsillitis. When brushing and whitening teeth, hydroperite decomposes to hydrogen peroxide and urea and is considered safe for enamel.
Treatment in the dental office is good in that it gives a quick effect that lasts longer. In professional products, the concentration of peroxide, as a rule, is higher than in pharmacy.
The doctor will also help you choose a gel for whitening at home and make a special mouthguard for an individual impression. This mouthguard should be worn from 30 minutes to 1 hour per day for several weeks.
There are also special bleaching strips that manufacturers recommend applying one to two times a day. They have an extremely low content of hydroperite in order to have a therapeutic effect. With strong pigmentation, they are practically useless.
Do whitening toothpaste virtually no medicinal properties. Most often, they contain small abrasive crumbs and blue pigment covering. After brushing off gives only a visible whiteness effect.
Side effects of teeth whitening
Any medical procedure has limitations and negative consequences. And this is another reason why oral hygiene is best trusted by professionals.
The main side effects of tooth whitening:
- Hypersensitivity. After the first procedure, your teeth may begin to respond to acidic, cold or hot. Over time, this should pass. To reduce sensitivity, the dentist will recommend special gels with potassium nitrate or sodium fluoride. They should be applied twice a day after morning and evening brushing.
- Gum irritation. Contact with a whitening agent may cause slight inflammation around the teeth. As a rule, it passes. If bleeding develops, further bleaching sessions should be discarded.
Maintaining teeth whiteness
Any eating habits and preferences affect the result. The whitening procedure does not protect against re-staining. If possible, rinse your mouth and brush your teeth after red wine, coffee, berries, and other products with natural dyes, as well as stop smoking.
We recommend that you read our article “To brush teeth before breakfast or after eating?“