Your Teeth Whitening Questions Answered
Many people have questions about what teeth whitening is and who is suitable for such cosmetic procedures. Bust some myths and learn more about it here.
Many people have questions about what teeth whitening is and who is suitable for such cosmetic procedures. Hopefully the Q&A below will help to bust myths about teeth whitening!
Q: My teeth seems to be more yellow than it was before. Should I attempt teeth whitening?
A: Yellowing of teeth - or teeth discoloration - can be classified either as external or internal.
External discoloration is usually caused by your lifestyle, or dietary habits. For instance, drinking coffee or tea can cause stains to accumulate on the external surfaces of your teeth. Plaque accumulation on teeth surfaces can give your teeth a yellowish appearance as well. Stains that are accumulated on the tooth surfaces can be polished away by a light-grit abrasive paste at the dental office.
Internal discoloration on the other hand cannot be removed by polishing. In such cases, teeth whitening may be worth considering. Do consult your dentist to see if you are suitable for teeth whitening.
Q: What is teeth whitening? Are the chemicals safe?
Teeth whitening involves a bleaching process, of which an oxidizing agent is used to whiten dark substances in your tooth structure.
The by-products are oxygen and water so it is safe to swallow your saliva during the whitening procedure. Tooth whitening is not harmful to the tooth. Teeth surfaces are not eroded or removed during the whitening process.
Chairside whitening gels contains only 25% hydrogen peroxide and is buffered at a near-neutral pH value that is compatible with tooth enamel. The specially designed whitening lamp shines a gentle blue light on your teeth. It emits virtually no heat and no harmful UV light. There are no major side effects to teeth whitening. Teeth whitening is by far the most popular and least invasive of cosmetic dental treatments used to brighten and whiten yellow teeth.
Q: What kinds of teeth whitening systems are there?
A: There are three kinds of teeth whitening systems:
- Professional in-office bleaching
In-office bleaching may be suitable for busy individuals. The procedure requires about 1-1.5 hours. Light-activated bleaching gels are used to whiten discoloured teeth. Usually, visible improvement can be noticed after the treatment. With proper care, results may be able to last up to 1 yr. In addition, a maintenance home whitening kit can be used to maintain brightness.
- Take-home whitening kits
Whitening process is more gradual, and results are usually seen in a week. This system uses a mild solution of carbamide peroxide retained in a custom-fitted tray that is worn over the teeth.
- Non-vital tooth bleaching
This method is used when teeth that has been root canal treated becomes discoloured.
Q: I have heard about whitening toothpastes. Do they work like whitening procedures as described above?
Whitening toothpastes function by polishing external stains away from tooth. These toothpastes typically contain more abrasive ingredients, such as silica, which scrub the surface of the teeth. Whitening toothpastes do not cause the yellowish tinge of your teeth to whiten in the same way whitening procedures do.
Q: I have often heard of people having sensitivity after the tooth whitening procedure. Is this normal?
A: some patients may experience sensitivity following bleaching but it is usually temporary and will disappear after 24 hours. Patients are advised to avoid anything acidic or sour to avoid sensitivity.
Q: Will I be suitable for teeth whitening procedures:
A: the following groups of patients are not suitable for teeth whitening procedures:
- Active gum disease
- Uncontrolled and multiple decayed teeth
- Pregnant or lactating female patients
- Patients with photosensitivity
- Patients with enamohypoplasia or severe attrition and erosion
Do consult your dentist should you have any doubts about whether you are suitable for teeth whitening.