Teeth Whitening Options: Does It Work and Is it Safe?

Teeth Whitening Options: Does It Work and Is it Safe?

Dec 01, 2021

Dental trauma, acidic drinks, smoking, and pigmented beverages are key factors behind teeth stains or discoloration. Thanks to cosmetic dentistry, you don’t have to feel embarrassed about your smile due to your teeth stains.

Teeth whitening is among the most effective, quick, and easy ways to brighten your smile. Usually, teeth discoloration can be categorized as extrinsic (external) discoloration and intrinsic (internal) discoloration.

Extrinsic discoloration affects the outer surface of the teeth. They are mainly caused by tobacco use, poor dental hygiene, and eating colored food and beverages.

This includes coffee, tea, food with dyes, and red wine. These stains can easily be cleaned using professional whitening, whitening toothpaste, strips, and mouthwashes.

Intrinsic discoloration happens from within a tooth. Mostly, they are caused by a pulp infection, tooth trauma, aging, illnesses, and medication use.

These stains can be resolved with professional whitening or cosmetic procedures such as veneers or crowns. Visit your dentist to find out which type of discoloration you have, and how it can be resolved.

How does Teeth Whitening Work?

Typically, teeth whitening works in two ways. It can either remove stains from the tooth’s enamel or change the color of the dentin. To remove minor surface stains, you can use whitening toothpaste to scrub away the stains.

Make sure that you’re using an approved toothpaste to avoid damaging your enamel.

If the stains are severe or intrinsic, bleaching is the right way to go. Bleaching has more dramatic effects, and it involves changing the tooth’s dentin.

In-office bleaching is the most effective and safest way to bleach your teeth. The whitening or bleaching agents contain a high concentration of bleaching chemicals such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.

These chemicals break down the stains, lightening the tooth’s color. At-home bleaching treatments usually contain less concentration of hydrogen peroxide to make them safer.

Bleaching is very effective and offers immediate results. It’s worth noting that improper use of whitening bleaches can irritate your gums and cause sensitivity. Therefore, it’s best to get the treatment or bleaching products from a specialized dentist.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

While side effects are possible, teeth whitening is generally safe if done correctly. In-office teeth whitening is the safest since it’s offered by the dentist.

Ensure you follow your dentist’s or manufacturer’s instructions strictly to avoid any complications for at-home whitening products from over the counter or your dentist.

Teeth Whitening Options

When considering teeth whitening, you have several options to choose from. These include:

  • Professional Whitening

Professional whitening can be categorized in two ways – in-office whitening and at-home whitening through your dentist.

In-office whitening is administered by your dentist. The dentist applies a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide to the stained teeth.

The bleaching effect is activated and quickened using a special dental light or laser. This treatment only takes about one to two hours, and the results are immediate. With good oral hygiene and habits, the results can last for two to three years.

At-home treatment through the dentist involves using whitening products dispensed by your dentist to use at home. These treatments are commonly offered through customized whitening trays that you wear for about 30 minutes to one hour a day for a few weeks.

  • Over-the-counter whitening products

You can also turn to over-the-counter whitening products without the oversight of your dentist. These include whitening mouthwashes, toothpaste, and strips. These products contain very little concentration of the bleaching agent.

Therefore, they might not be effective for Intrinsic or severe tooth stains. To prevent side effects, ensure the whitening products you’re using are good quality and safe. If possible, ask for recommendations from your dentist. Also, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines strictly.

  • Home-based whitening remedies

Activated charcoal, lemon juice, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar are the most popular home-based whitening agents. Use caution as these methods aren’t scientifically proven to be effective at removing stains.

For instance, inappropriate use of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar can damage the tooth’s enamel, making you susceptible to cavities and further discoloration.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

The right whitening treatments depend majorly on the type of discoloration you have, the desired results, and your budget. For best results, we recommend discussing your options with your dentist. For professional whitening treatments near you, contact Weymouth Dental Associates.

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