Achieving Good Dental Health Can Be Easier than You Think

Little Known Facts About Teeth Whitening

One of the most popular dental procedures is teeth whitening. Many people go for teeth bleaching to achieve a brighter smile. However, very few people know the facts behind teeth whitening. 

Common Whitening Options

The common teeth whitening treatments include stain-removal toothpaste, in-office bleaching, and over-the-counter bleaching products. Whitening toothpaste with the ADA seal of acceptance for stain removal is effective. Whitening toothpaste has polishing agents that help get rid of stubborn stains.

In-office bleaching is a popular tooth whitening procedure because it involves one visit to the dentist. During the procedure, the dentist will apply a protective gel to your gums and apply bleach to remove deep stains.

Over-the-counter bleaching methods involve the use of whitening strips and trays. The bleaching agents used in these products have a lower concentration than what's used in in-office bleaching. Make sure you use a whitening kit that has the ADA seal of acceptance.

Whitening Chemistry

Whitening can either be done through the physical removal of stains or a chemical reaction that makes your teeth a few shades lighter. Typically, teeth bleaching involves a chemical degradation of chromogens. These chromogens are dark shades or colors that form tooth stains. The main ingredient in bleaching products is hydrogen peroxide which is administered as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.

There are two categories of chromogens: large organic compounds with conjugated double bonds in their structure and metal compounds. The hydrogen peroxide in whitening products reacts with the conjugated double bonds causing the chromogens to take on a lighter color. It's more difficult to bleach stains caused by metallic compounds. For these kinds of stains, it's better to get crowns, bonding, or veneers.

Adverse Effects

One of the common adverse effects of over-the-counter whitening is tooth sensitivity. This is usually prevalent when the bleaching procedure involves the use of higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. The main cause of this sensitivity is the inflammation of the pulp.

In tray-based teeth whitening treatments or whitening strips, sensitivity develops 2-3 days after you start using the program. However, the sensitivity will be resolved after the fourth day. The presence of adhesive restorations may cause severe tooth sensitivity.

Another adverse effect of teeth whitening is gingival irritation. This results from contact with peroxide-based gels. It arises if the trays don't fit properly or through the improper application of the gel. Experts discourage the use of local anesthesia during in-office whitening treatment so patients can detect any discomfort with the trays or gel and alert the dentist.

Contact your dentist for more information on which teeth whitening method is best for you.