Teeth whitening is a common cosmetic dentistry procedure that restores teeth to their original shade.
If you want a brighter smile, then a quick trip to your dentist’s office or the local pharmacy for a whitening treatment should be enough.
You can also make your smile brighter by changing your toothpaste into one that is loaded with active ingredients that promote brighter teeth.
Whitening mouthwash, whitening strips, trays, and pens can also help supplement your oral hygiene habits to help you get a brighter smile faster.
But before you undergo any kind of whitening method – be it in a dental clinic chair or in your own bathroom – it would be best to know the facts about teeth whitening beforehand.
Compiled in this article are fast answers to six of the most pressing teeth whitening questions out there.
Question #1: Why would I need teeth whitening?
Answer: Because your teeth can stain and discolor.
Your teeth have pores that can absorb the color of anything you put into your mouth. This is why constant exposure to certain foods and drinks — even tobacco smoking — can cause your teeth to lose its original milky white hue.
Frequent drinkers of wine, coffee, or tea tend to have stained teeth because the pigments contained in these drinks attach to the enamel of the teeth. For smokers, the nicotine found in tobacco products can also lead to yellowing, while the tar causes the teeth to turn brown.
As much as you try to avoid it, the color of your teeth is bound to change as you age. And the stains and discoloration won’t go away unless you intentionally remove them by using teeth whitening products and procedures.
Question #2: Is teeth whitening safe?
Answer: Yes, if done correctly.
Anything in excess – be it aggressive brushing or intense teeth whitening – can lead to teeth damage. This is why it is important that teeth whitening products are used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Moreover, professional teeth whitening is safe when performed by a licensed individual. The process involves the use of active ingredients to open up the teeth’s pores and remove stains they may have absorbed over time.
After every whitening procedure, the teeth will rehydrate and remineralize naturally.
Question #3: What is a top benefit of teeth whitening?
Answer: It restores your teeth’s original appearance.
While the teeth are not perfectly white by nature, it is possible to improve their natural color and get rid of any stain or discoloration they may have acquired over time.
Besides smoking and eating or drinking highly pigmented foods and drinks, age also plays a role in the yellowing of teeth. Fortunately, teeth whitening products and procedures can now effectively extract those pigments and leave the teeth whiter than ever before.
Question #4: How is teeth whitening done?
Answer: Through a procedure performed by a dentist, at-home whitening kits, or laser.
There are plenty of ways to whiten your teeth, but the three listed below are the most commonly used today:
1. Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening is probably the most efficient way to brighten your smile.
Professional whitening treatments use active whitening ingredients that produce significant results faster compared to their over-the-counter counterparts. In fact, you can already see visible changes after just one visit.
2. At-Home Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is a lifetime commitment. It’s not enough that you undergo a form of whitening treatment once and expect your teeth to stay bright forever.
Besides returning to your dentist, you can also ask them to prescribe a teeth whitening treatment you can perform on your own at home. If this is the case, be sure to follow their instructions carefully.
You should also need to reconsider your lifestyle to ensure that your teeth become whiter and stay that way longer. This way, you can save on teeth whitening treatments, regardless of whether you use a take-home kit or clinic-performed professional treatments.
3. Laser Whitening
Besides home whitening kits and professional teeth whitening treatments, you can also undergo laser whitening to improve your smile.
According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), laser whitening offers more instant results, with teeth becoming up to 10 shades whiter in just one hour.
Of course, this type of treatment can only be performed in a dentist’s office, so be sure to seek a licensed professional.
Question #5: How can I keep my teeth white after a treatment?
Answer: Through good oral hygiene.
When it comes to maintaining the appearance and health of teeth, good oral hygiene is the number one solution. The same is true for whitened teeth.
Brushing and flossing are two of the most basic tasks you need to maintain your dental health. To be even more thorough, use a mouthwash to get rid of germs and prevent stain formation on your teeth.
Floss at least once a day to make sure that any dental plaque buildup has been removed.
Also, remember to wait at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking acidic foods and beverages before brushing teeth. Acid can weaken the enamel of the teeth, which means brushing them right after exposure to acidic foods and drinks may lead to damage.
According to the American Dental Association, foods like apples, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, and pears can actually help make the teeth cleaner, while reducing the bacteria population in the mouth. You can also use a straw when drinking pigmented beverages to keep them away from your teeth.
Question #6: How do I know if I am a good candidate for teeth whitening?
Answer: By asking your dentist.
Anyone with permanent teeth can get their teeth whitened, but it would be best to ask your dentist’s opinion. Since he can assess your oral health through a checkup, your dentist can provide recommendations on whitening methods that best suit you.
For example, bleaching is best for yellowing teeth, whereas the results may not be the same if you have grey or brown teeth. The same goes for striped or mottled teeth after exposure to too much fluoride and tetracycline.
Bleaching is also not recommended for people with crowns, tooth-colored fillings, caps, or bonding on the front teeth. This is because the bleach won’t affect these materials, which means they will stand out once your natural teeth are whitened.
As for people with sensitive teeth or periodontal disease, chemical teeth whitening should be avoided as it can irritate the tender gums.
To a Whiter Smile
Teeth whitening is the most straightforward way to achieve a brighter smile. But before you can undergo the procedure, make sure that you learn everything there is to know about it. This way, you can make an informed decision that best suits your specific case.