White teeth and a pleasant smile are vital to making a lasting first impression. Having white teeth makes you more confident, and this is very important when it comes to careers and relationships.
Findings of a study that was carried out by the American Dental Association in partnership with Oral B and Crest suggested that an individual’s smile stands out as the most physically attractive attribute compared to the person’s other features such as eyes and hair. It is, therefore, no wonder that more and more people are making efforts to whiten their teeth.
In this article, you will learn six critical facts about teeth whitening. These include the meaning of teeth whitening, why the procedure gets done, the preparation required before teeth whitening, how the process gets carried out, follow-up after teeth whitening, and the benefits and risks involved.
- What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is the process of lightening teeth and removing discoloration and stains on the teeth. It is one of the most common procedures that dentists perform because of its popularity as a way to improve the way teeth look.
Teeth whitening often gets carried out more than once. If you would like to have sparkling white teeth consistently, you will need to have the procedure repeated from time to time by your dentist. The reason why teeth whitening gets repeated after some time is that the result of the technique is not permanent. Teeth frequently get exposed to foods and processes that make them slowly lose their white color. Therefore, to maintain the white look and shine of your teeth, you must whiten them as recommended by a dentist.
- Why teeth whitening gets done
The main reason for teeth whitening is to make teeth white and give them a shiny appearance. Your teeth have an outer layer referred to as enamel. The color of your natural teeth forms from reflection and dispersion of light from the teeth enamel combined with the dentin under it.
Each day, a thin layer is created on the enamel and leads to the formation of stains. The teeth enamel also has tiny holes that can hold stains. Your teeth are more likely to become discolored or to lose their natural white appearance if you engage in habits such as using tobacco, drinking dark-colored liquids such as tea, coffee, red wine, and cola. Also, not engaging in good oral hygiene practices such as brushing and regular flossing causes discoloration.
In addition to the need to have a brighter smile characterized by white teeth, other reasons for teeth whitening are as below:
- To eliminate awkward spots: You can whiten your teeth to get rid of any spots on the teeth.
- To change how you look: You can improve how you look by only whitening your teeth. Teeth whitening is much cheaper compared to other cosmetic procedures.
- To create a more uniform appearance of your teeth: Some people have stains only on the bottoms or tops of their teeth. If you have teeth that are partly stained, you will want to have a uniform appearance by whitening them.
- Preparation for teeth whitening.
Your dentist should examine you to determine whether you are fit for teeth whitening. For instance, cavities should be evaluated and treated before the teeth whitening process because the whitening element can pass through the teeth cavities and reach the inner sections of your teeth. Also, if you have gums that have receded or you have teeth cavities, the use of whitening products can make the teeth sensitive. Further, you cannot undergo teeth whitening if you have porcelain or ceramic veneers or crowns.
When you visit a dentist for teeth whitening, the dentist will assess your teeth and inquire about the possible causes of the staining. After that, the dentist will clean your teeth to remove bacteria, food particles, and other materials that accumulate on your teeth and cause staining. Once the steps mentioned above are complete, the whitening process starts.
- How the procedure gets carried out
There two primary forms of teeth whitening. First is vital whitening, which gets carried out on teeth that have live nerves. Second is non-vital whitening, which gets done on teeth that have had a root canal treatment and thus have no live nerves.
The most common form of teeth whitening involves the use of a gel that gets rubbed over the surface of the teeth. The gel has hydrogen peroxide. Before applying the gel on your teeth, the dentist will use a product that protects the gums around the teeth.
Whitening can be done at home or in the dentist’s office. An in-office whitening process allows the dentist to use a stronger whitening gel. A laser or specialized light is used to activate the gel and causes the whitening process to happen faster. In-office whitening lasts between 30 and 90 minutes, and you will require one to three appointments. The number of schedules needed depends on factors such as the method used, the intensity of the stains, and how white you would like your teeth to appear.
Vital whitening may not effectively improve the appearance of teeth that have had a root canal treatment since the stain emanates from inside parts of the teeth. In such a case, the dentist will utilize a method that whitens the teeth from the inside. The dentist will put a whitening agent inside the affected teeth and place a filling over the teeth temporarily. The teeth then get left this way for several days before it gets removed.
- Follow-up after teeth whitening
If your gums become sore or white after teeth whitening, you should inform your dentist for further treatment.
- Benefits and risks involved
Teeth whitening has benefits such as white teeth and improving the way you look. The process is not likely to cause notable side effects, though some people may experience tooth sensitivity for a short while. You may also experience slight gum irritation after the procedure. It is also important to note that teeth whitening should not get done on pregnant or nursing women.
You can enhance your smile and improve the appearance of your teeth by going for teeth whitening. Before undergoing the procedure, you need to understand what it entails and the treatments that you may require beforehand. It would be best if you also talked to your dentist regarding any risks that may be involved.