Teeth whitening methods are divided into at-home and professional methods. The following will detail the methods used by professionals in dental cabinets. Utodent.com recommends: if you decide it’s time to whiten your teeth, you should immediately contact a professional dentist for maximum effect.
When It’s Time to Whiten Teeth
Some patients want their teeth to regain their natural color from the way they were before. Others want a sparkling white gloss that is not found in nature. In the first case, conservative whitening is necessary. In the second, transformative, and gentle methods are unlikely to help, you will have to remove the top layer of enamel. Perhaps the patient will like the special pads on the teeth – veneers or lumineers. A competent specialist during the consultation will advise the best way out.
Tooth enamel becomes unnaturally colored evenly or in some places (furrows, depressions). It may be yellowish, greenish or dark. It depends on the specific reasons, the person’s household habits. If you rarely brush your teeth and eat a lot of sugary foods, tartar builds up. Intense smoking or chewing of tobacco will naturally cause the enamel to turn yellow. Many foods and drinks contain coloring substances. Those who enjoy drinking pomegranate juice or chewing pomegranate kernels certainly cannot protect their teeth from staining.
To avoid having to whiten teeth regularly, it is important that the patient is willing to give up the habits that are bad for them. Otherwise, again, it is worth thinking about overlays and other gentle options for prosthetics. Bleaching procedures are long and complicated, sometimes expensive, and obviously not good for your health in general. Therefore, they should not be used too often.
How Do Teeth Get Darker?
Fortunately, coloring agents do not usually react with the mineral components of enamel and dentin. Fluoride-containing dental minerals are very dense and strong, resistant to chemical attack. The acids produced by bacteria gradually leach out the fluoride, but brushing restores its content and promotes healing of the damage.
Dye microparticles simply get clogged in the tiny pores between the crystals formed by the outgrowths of cells. Dentin is especially porous compared to enamel; it is a “living” tissue. If the enamel has worn down to the dentin (usually on the chewing surface of the tooth), staining is much faster, and very persistent.
The closer to the surface, the more the particles get clogged in the pores. Over time, they no longer allow new ones to go deep, but the whiteness and gloss is lost altogether. It is possible to remove the excess from the dental tissues by physical and chemical means. Whitening techniques are based on a combination of these.
Tooth Whitening: At Home or at the Dentist
Folk whitening techniques have been around for centuries. After globalization, any exotics from other continents, with a national flavor, have been added to the local remedies.
But folk methods have enough disadvantages:
- the procedures take a lot of time and effort;
- the result is slow to appear;
- In the end, there is more expense than benefit;
- Sometimes the remedies taste unpleasant and look unattractive.
Given the mentioned disadvantages, modern medicine offers more high-tech methods of home whitening, based on advanced chemistry. But a new problem arises: potent preparations are dangerous if overdosed or applied incorrectly. A slight deviation from the instructions is enough, and a person will do himself serious harm. Therefore, the simplest and safest remedies are available for self-treatment of the teeth. But they are the least effective.
Only in a well-equipped office where the treatment is performed by an experienced professional can you count on quick and reliable results, with absolute safety procedures. Bleaching techniques are improving every year and their costs are going down.
- Deep cracks in the teeth.
- Periodontal disease.
- Any inflammatory processes in the mouth – gingivitis, periodontitis, glossitis, stomatitis.
- Presence of crowns, fillings, dentures or staples on the front teeth.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding.
- Allergic reactions to components of bleaching agents.
- Most chronic diseases are not a hindrance to teeth whitening, provided that the patient’s condition is generally satisfactory. If there are tumors in the oral cavity, the dentist decides on an individual basis.
It is necessary to remove tartar before whitening. Filling defects or dentures is better after bleaching, as the dentist takes into account the natural color of the enamel of the surrounding crowns when choosing the color of the filling or denture.
Whitening Mouth Guards
If the teeth are generally healthy and the patient does not want to spend a long time in the doctor’s office, you can make mouth guards with bleach for home wear – special soft devices worn on the teeth. An impression is taken of the teeth, the procedure does not take long, and the lab makes a mouth guard that fits the person exactly.
The mouth guard is worn at night, or worn during the day for a couple of hours each day. In total, the treatment takes about two weeks. You will still need to visit the dentist occasionally to monitor the process. This method differs from completely “at home”, where the patient buys a treatment kit themselves, and uses it at their own risk.
Caps are filled with a semi-liquid gel containing a certain concentration of hydrogen peroxide. This is the main component of chemical whitening formulas used in the past and present. Despite the invention of increasingly effective gels, peroxide continues to play a crucial role. It gradually decomposes to form water and free atomic oxygen, which oxidizes impurities trapped in the pores of the teeth.
Teeth Whitening with Hydrogen Peroxide
The method is also suitable for relatively problematic teeth. Still, serious defects should be treated before the procedures. The peroxide is applied only to the enamel, the working substance must not come into contact with areas of bare dentin or dental cement.
At the dentist’s office, teeth whitening with hydrogen peroxide takes about an hour. The patient should be patient and prepared for a long procedure with a special apparatus. But the result will, achieved in one time, you do not need to come to the doctor again.
First, the mucous membrane of the mouth is protected with a composition that hardens in the light. It is applied in a semi-liquid state, and after turning on a powerful light source, within a few seconds it is brought to a plastic state, 0.5-1 mm thick. With such protection, the mucosa will not be damaged by the substances used to treat the teeth. They cover the lips and gums, put the composition in the interdental spaces.
Then the actual whitening gel is applied. The device emitting ultraviolet light is turned on, and it works on the surface of the teeth for about 45 minutes. Hydrogen peroxide is the main component of the gel. It releases oxygen atoms under UV light, and the particles stuck in the dental pores, visible to the naked eye as darkening, are destroyed. Compounds are formed that are easily removed by normal brushing and rinsing. Peroxide-treated teeth are fluoridated to enhance the natural protective properties of enamel and eliminate hypersensitivity to irritants.
After the procedure, the teeth are several base shades lighter. The result lasts for 1-5 years, depending on the patient’s habits. It is recommended to quit smoking or eliminating coloring products from your diet. Then the teeth will be bright and beautiful for a long time, making everyone happy with a white smile. If willpower is not enough, you should refrain from nicotine and dyes for at least 1-2 days until the whitening effect will be fixed.
Professional Teeth Cleaning
Professional teeth cleaning is done without the use of hydrogen peroxide and other powerful chemicals. Plaque is removed by physical methods, of which ultrasound is the most effective and popular. Dental office cleaning has the same advantages over home cleaning already mentioned: quality results, safety, high speed of treatment and comfort for the patient.
No brushes clean enamel as well as ultrasound. And attempts to use such equipment at home, understandably, will not lead to anything good, and can cause serious injury. The effect is long-lasting, and the teeth get several shades lighter.
Laser Teeth Whitening
Laser whitening is the most effective, but it is an expensive method. The equipment requires large financial investments, and staff training takes a long time.
The surface of the teeth is affected by a narrow beam of light produced by a powerful laser. Only one tooth can be treated, without affecting the neighboring teeth. There are fewer contraindications to the procedure, there is no complicated preparation stage and no danger of damaging the oral mucosa if the patient is careless.
The duration of the session is 15-30 minutes – much less than other methods. Teeth are whitened better by at least 10-12 tones. At the end of the procedure there is increased sensitivity of the teeth, it is desirable to fluoridate them immediately. As in other cases, tea, coffee and tobacco are contraindicated for the first 1-2 days after the session.
Whitening of Devitalized Teeth
A devitalized (dead) tooth with a pulp removed is whitened from the inside. Mostly the dentin is whitened, which contains the tubules that remain from the outgrowths of once-living cells. Whether the outside will need whitening is determined later, taking into account the color of the treated tooth.
The following methods are used:
- In-office whitening with hydrogen peroxide, with stimulation of oxygen release from the gel by directional light or heat (ultraviolet and infrared sources);
- Semi at-home bleaching – hydrogen peroxide and/or sodium perborate is placed in the tooth cavity in the form of a gel, and covered for a couple of days.
If the tooth has already been filled, the filling is removed from it. They leave in place the composition that fills the root canals, and cover it with phosphate cement. Organics that absorb peroxide should not be used. Carry out one of the bleaching procedures “from the inside”, later the cavity is filled again. If necessary, the treatment is repeated 2-3 times.
To eliminate the darkening caused by sulfur compounds, use a special paste. It should not be applied to the enamel surface.
Important: If the integrity of the gel-filled tooth is compromised, you should immediately consult a doctor. Hydrogen peroxide is harmful to mucous membranes and other tissues.
If the surface layers of enamel are damaged, it is partially removed. The most gentle methods are used: grinding (microreduction) and microabrasion. You should not think of abrasive methods as rough grinding of the tooth with a drill.
The main indications for abrasion are persistent loss of enamel calcium and excess fluoride (fluorosis). It is impossible to restore the whiteness of the teeth by other means in such cases. The brown stains will still remain.
Enamel loss after peeling is negligible. The procedure is inexpensive and performed quickly, with minimal discomfort for the patient. The treatment can be repeated after a period of time, with the same success.
It is often not possible to determine the desired depth of abrasion until after exposure has begun. Therefore, start with the molars, which are in the back of the mouth, they are not as visible as the front teeth. If the enamel lesion is too deep (more than 300 microns), other methods are used instead of abrasion.
Anesthesia is recommended for pain-sensitive patients. For grinding, the hardest diamond bur of the suitable shape is used, and the maximum rotation speed is set. During processing, the former contours of the tooth are preserved, and only the uppermost layer of enamel is removed. The tooth must not be dried out, it is processed with water cooling. Then there is no damage to the pulp, no increased sensitivity after the treatment, and the natural color of enamel is preserved.
Microabrasion is performed after the abrasion or as a separate treatment. The enamel surface is improved, it becomes smoother and more even. A paste containing acid with an abrasive substance (high hardness powder) is used. Popular preparations Prema System and Ultradent include crushed corundum, active hydrochloric acid and neutral shaping silicic acid gel.
The substance is placed in a soft cup and rubbed into the enamel, slowly rotating the tip. From time to time the tooth is rinsed. Use a mirror to control the quality of treatment of all surfaces, including the invisible from the outside.
Usually a week after the abrasion, the patient is seen by the dentist to assess the results. If the condition of the teeth is satisfactory, you can consolidate the success by using a doctor issued set for home whitening (preferably a long overnight), containing hydrogen peroxide in a weak concentration. After 2-4 weeks, the teeth are perfect.