Scrolling down your social media timelines, you must have seen at least one video that recommends instant teeth whitening. And you are probably thinking, “wow, it really works!”. And even though it REALLY does work, there is a dangerous truth behind this instant efficiency – the consequences. Yes, you will have white pearly teeth in just a few minutes after several sessions, but at what cost?
Let’s take a step back and investigate a bit deeper into the whole process of teeth whitening. You will see that at the end of the day, all that glitters is not gold… and it can be a real threat to your general health.
So, let’s start at the very beginning.
What Is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that can be done by the dentist at their office or home according to the instructions of the dentist. It involves deep cleaning of the enamel of the teeth by removing stains and discoloration and in the way it lightens their color. Dentists can also change the natural color of the tooth with unique treatments that take more than one dental session.
One of the most important things to remember before deciding to whiten your teeth is that teeth are very delicate. Using a lot of whitening products, and using them more than the recommended dosage and frequency can cause irreversible damage. Therefore, instead of getting rid of yellowing or staining, your teeth might end up with a worsened condition and look. Also, when deciding what products you can use, very helpful is to know the reason for discoloration or staining, as not every reason can be treated the same way with the same products.
How Do Teeth Whitening Products Work?
Teeth Whitening products have bleaching chemicals with active whitening agents in their formula. They get on the tooth enamel and start an oxidation reaction, which is a chemical reaction that fights the staining particles.
There are two main bleaching chemicals that almost all whitening products have in their formula – carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. Some of these products, such as the Opalescence teeth whitening gels, have both agents in the formula. When you want to get rid of tobacco, coffee, and tea stains, such products are recommended as they penetrate deep into the outer layer of the enamel and dissolve the stains.
Which Are the Bleaching Chemicals?
When it comes to the strength of these bleaching agents, dosage matters. You can find products with different percentage of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. However, it would be best if you didn’t go for the strongest whitening formula on your own, medical advice should always be taken into consideration instead.
Speaking of different percentage of bleaching agents concentration, you can find products with 10%, 15%, 20%, 35% carbamide peroxide. The higher the concentration, the more efficient the product is when dealing with hardcore stains. However, the consequences are also bigger. Tooth sensitivity to cold and hot, inflamed, and even bleeding gums and teeth that look blue or transparent near the edges are possible and very probable side-effects.
How Often Should I Whiten My Teeth?
Another detrimental problem with teeth whitening is overdoing it. People seem to ask the question “How often should I whiten my teeth” and apply the answer regardless of the way of whitening they use, which is a severe mistake. The truth is, every different product for whitening has its own frame of frequency of use. Let’s have a look at some examples.
Whitening toothpaste should be used once or twice a week to ensure safely removing surface stains. For the rest of the week, using regular toothpaste is recommended. Then, there are the stripes. These are specially designed to use twice a day for a period of two or three weeks for optimal results. Next, there are powders for home use that should be applied up to 3 minutes 3 to 5 days, each day.
Another top-rated product used for whitening is the pen. Used once or twice a day for 1 to 2 weeks, the pen will give excellent results. Furthermore, the gels are one of the most effective methods for home use, and the instructions that come with the different percentage of bleaching agents concentration must be strictly followed. Finally, the LED lights should be used three times a week, with 20 minutes per session.
Let me state once again; the dentists should give the final instructions based on the results of your dental check. The current condition of your teeth is the most trusted indicator of how the teeth whitening process will develop. And should you choose to have it done at the dentist’s office, then you can rest assured that the dentist will choose the most suitable whitening plan for your teeth. Keep in mind, though, that this is a far more expensive option.