One of the most common cosmetic procedures is teeth whitening. This procedure is a simple and non-invasive procedure. Patients who go for this procedure either have tooth discolouration or want to brighten their teeth. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about teeth whitening.
What Causes Tooth Discolouration?
Many factors can cause tooth discolouration. These include aging, genetics, or consuming staining substances like red wine, cola, tea, coffee, and tobacco. Old restorations and trauma can also contribute to discolouration.
A person can also have discoloured teeth if they consume excessive fluoride or tetracycline during tooth formation. Your dentist will recommend tooth whitening depending on the degree of discolouration. For example, for severe discolouration, laser tooth whitening may be performed because it is effective and provides fast results.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
During the whitening procedure, a whitening gel is applied in a custom-fitted tray. The tray is then inserted over the patient's teeth. The gel in the tray starts to break down. During this process, oxygen penetrates the enamel and lifts away the stain inside the tooth. This process lightens the teeth. Whitening strips work the same way as trays. Laser teeth whitening involves a partially invasive procedure where a special light activates the whitening gel.
The gel contains either two active ingredients: carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is more potent and quicker than carbamide peroxide. Since hydrogen peroxide breaks down quickly, carbamide peroxide, which acts longer, is made to be worn throughout the night.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Teeth whitening does not involve any surgery. It is a non-invasive procedure. However, the risk of teeth whitening arises if products have a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
High concentrations of either hydrogen or carbamide peroxide can lead to chemical burns. Only registered dentists are allowed to use higher strength products. Additionally, failing to perform whitening properly can lead to uneven results or the risk of injury. For example, if the bleaching agent touches your gums, you may suffer from chemical burns. Pregnant women are advised to avoid whitening because the chemicals may affect breast milk.
How Long Does Whitening Last?
The results of teeth whitening depend on the method used and the strength of the product. Some products deliver results in a few days while others take months. The duration of the whitening will also depend on the severity of the discolouration.
Therefore, the duration of whitening varies from case to case. However, laser teeth whitening offer faster results than whitening trays and strips. This is because it involves using a higher percentage of hydrogen peroxide, and a light is used to quicken the reaction.