Teeth Whitening: Everything you Need to Know
What Is Tooth Whitening?
Tooth whitening is a process that “bleaches” the teeth, removing it of stains on the enamel and dentin to affect a lightening of any discoloration present. A common tooth whitening procedure uses carbamide peroxide poured over a custom mouth-guard worn over the teeth.
What Is Tooth Discoloration?
Defining tooth discoloration depends upon its many causes and it is important to distinguish between an external and internal stain.
- external stains: tobacco, tea, coffee and juices like grape and apple, coffee, tea and tobacco
- internal stains: excessive fluoride (during teeth formation), aging, trauma, nerve degeneration, tetracycline (while teeth are forming)
Only professional whitening procedures such as the custom tray bleaching can remove both internal and external stains. Over-the-counter tooth whitening products like toothpastes only remove the external stains.
Who Can Undergo Tooth Whitening?
Anybody can benefit from a tooth whitening procedure. A certain procedure though may be less effective for some people. Patients whose teeth are stained by tetracycline may experience difficulty in achieving the desired whiteness. People with veneers, crowns or fillings may also experience uneven whiteness because these dental fixtures do not whiten along with the rest of the teeth.
Can A Pregnant or Nursing Woman Bleach Her Teeth?
It is recommended and dentists agree that a pregnant woman and nursing mother should avoid any teeth whitening procedure. The reason for this is there’s no clinical studies done yet to find out the effects of the bleaching agents to a woman’s health if she’s pregnant or nursing.
Why Are There Teeth That Do Not Whiten Evenly With The Rest?
The sides of your teeth and the biting edges whiten more quickly than the rest. This is so because of the thicker enamel in these areas. Teeth with thicker enamel respond faster to the bleaching agent than teeth with thinner enamel. Continue with your whitening procedure and the whiteness will even out eventually.
Is Tooth Whitening Safe?
The most preferred tooth whitening procedure is the custom-fit tray bleaching that uses carbamide peroxide. This procedure, when done under the supervision of an oral healthcare professional or a dentist, is safe. There’s no danger of the bleaching agent harming your teeth and gums. It also does not damage the enamel or cause any tooth weakening. The only short term side-effect is tooth sensitivity which goes away quickly when the process is stopped.
If you have any more questions that concern you but are not discussed in this article, consult your dentist. The more you know about tooth whitening, the more confident you will be of any procedure you will choose.