Tooth whitening is a dental procedure of lightening the natural color of your teeth without harming the outer structure of tooth. This procedure cannot completely whiten the teeth but can make the teeth appear 2-3 shades lighter than the current shade.
Tooth whitening can be done to lighten the teeth which get stained by external or internal factors. External factors include drinking excessive amounts of tea, coffee or chewing tobacco. ‘Calculus’ or tartar can also lead to tooth discoloration. Consuming some antibiotics or cracks on tooth surface can also lead to tooth staining.
Tooth whitening is a professional bleaching is the most usual method of tooth whitening. This technique is performed by a dentist or can be done at home with the help of a tooth whitening trays or toothpastes. The ‘active ingredient’ in the product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient breaks and releases oxygen which makes the teeth appears lighter and whiter than the existing shade.
The time required for a professional tooth bleaching can be within three to four weeks. Usually a dentist takes an impression of your teeth. Once the treatment has started your dentist may recommend you to continue treatment at home. Whitening product is applied over two to four weeks, for 30 minutes to one hour at a time. Some recently developed whitening products can be applied for eight hours at a time. This results in desired result in as little as one week.
However, it is important that only those tooth whitening products should be consumed which are approved by American Dental Association. There are many fake tooth whitening products which are available in the market. Besides this tooth whitening should only be used for a stipulated period of time as recommended by your dentist.
There are many home whitening kits available, including paint-on whiteners and strips. How effective these are depends on the amount of whitening agent they contain.
Home kits are cheaper but they are not always assessed for safety and tend to be more acidic. So there is a chance that these products could damage your teeth and gums. Because tooth whitening is a complicated procedure we advise that you always talk to your dentist before starting the treatment.
Tooth whitening pastes which are commercially projected are more of hype and do not deliver the desired tooth whitening results. Tooth whitening pastes, stripes or trays recommended by a dentist are usually safe to use and deliver the desired whitening results.
One recently developed technique in teeth whitening is laser tooth whitening in which laser light is burnished on the teeth to activate the tooth lightening chemical. The advantage of laser light is that it activates the chemical at a much faster speed and hence delivers faster results.
Results of tooth whitening are thought to last up to three years. But it varies from one individual to other and also on other factors like how much care does one person takes care like if one refrains from smoking and maintains proper oral hygiene the effects of tooth whitening can last longer than expected.
Once the tooth whitening is done there are some essential steps which one must take so that the effects of whitening are retained for a longer period of time. Some easy steps are brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, refrain from smoking and having sugary foods and drinks. Visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and if required then a professional tooth cleaning to remove tartar. Refrain from visiting a quak dentist for cheap dental treatment or tooth whitening as it may permanently damage your teeth.