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14 April 2014

Is Tooth Whitening Effective And Does It Damage My Teeth?

When you say tooth whitening, it does not really mean that your teeth will come out pearl white after the treatment. Instead, they will be a few shades lighter and the results usually last for a few months to a few years, depending on the condition and your lifestyle.

How Tooth Whitening Works

In Europe, teeth whitening is only legally performed by a dentist or a regulated dental professional and it has to be prescribed by a dentist first. This renders teeth whitening offered by beauty salons and the DIY home whitening kits illegal and unregulated, possibly putting you at risk.

During your teeth whitening session, the dentist will make a mouthguard accurately modelled after your teeth. You will be instructed on how to use a bleaching gel along with it during your visits, usually up to four times. You can take the mouthguard home to continue with the treatment. The gel has to be applied for about two to four weeks, about 30 minutes to an hour at a time. However, some dentists may allow you to leave the gel on for eight hours to shorten the treatment time to a week or two. A routine must be followed according to the dentist’s instructions to get the best result.

The treatment has its limitations though. It only whitens natural teeth, but not on crowns, dentures, or veneers.

Types of Teeth Whitening

There are several types of tooth whitening, with professional whitening being the most common, as described above. It is also called as a dentist-supervised home whitening, wherein the whitening gel is applied by putting it in the trays.

Another method is chair-side whitening. However, your teeth and overall dental health will be assessed if you can have this treatment. The dentist will protect your gums with a gel or a rubber shield before applying the whitening product using a special tray. The product is often made of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Once it’s broken down, the oxygen reaches the dentine and enamel of the teeth, causing the teeth to lighten.

Laser whitening is another option. The whitening gel is applied onto your teeth, then the laser light is shone onto that gel to activate the whitening reaction.

How Long Do Whitened Teeth Last?

The effect of teeth whitening usually lasts for a few months to as long as three years. However, this time can be easily shorted if you smoke or drink coffee, tea or red wine. Heavy colouring can stain your teeth.

What Side Effects and Risks Are Associated with Teeth Whitening

During the whitening treatment, there are cases when patients might have extra sensitivity to cold. This may happen even after the treatment. Others might feel pain or discomfort in their gums, see white patches along the gum line, or experience a sore throat. However, these symptoms usually show throughout the treatment. Dentists can prescribe toothpastes or certain procedures to relieve the sensitivity.

You can also have your teeth checked for possible root damage. If you have some, it can be treated in time.

The safest way to have your teeth whitened is to have it done by a licensed dental professional. Over-the-counter home kits and whitening services in beauty salons and beauty kiosks don’t have as much regulation as those services provided by dentists. They may pose a risk to your teeth or gums, especially when your dental condition wasn’t examined before starting the treatment.

If you’re interested in tooth whitening, you can have a no obligation consultation with dental clinics such as The Smile Studito. During the consultation, your options will be explained to you in detail to help you make an educated decision.

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