Teeth whitening without enamel damage?
What types of whitening exist, and how do they differ?
Whitening can be divided into two large groups. Office (or clinical) takes place in a dental office. We use professional tools and equipment to obtain noticeable results during the procedure quickly. Home whitening can be done on your own at home.
How do modern whitening systems work? What is in their composition?
To put it simply, under the influence of the lamp’s cold diode light, the release of active oxygen from the gel is started. It breaks down the bonds of pigment molecules in the tooth’s hard tissues, so the surface becomes lighter.
The essence of whitening in office and home methods is similar. The composition is different. Systems of the first type operate based on hydrogen peroxide and the second – on carbamide peroxide. The home method is often used after the clinical method to prevent color rollback or enhance the results.
Are teeth whitening harmful? Will the enamel become brittle and more prone to caries?
This is one of the main myths that dentist still encounters. Modern whitening systems do not harm the enamel because they do not affect its structure – the gels react only with coloring pigments. In addition, LED lamps work with cold light, so teeth and gum tissue are protected from overheating. We perform remineralizing therapy as an additional precaution before and after the procedure. For this, special formulations are applied. Such gels based on potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride helps to strengthen and restore enamel. In addition, the lamp power can be adjusted, reducing harmful effects.
Is it true that whitening hurts?
Modern whitening systems act gently and do not heat the tissues, so discomfort does not always occur. Pain is more common in people with sensitive teeth. Some patients may complain of short-term “shooting” during the procedure. It’s annoying but completely normal.
Can tooth sensitivity increase after the procedure?
Indeed, increased sensitivity is possible. Moreover, soreness after the procedure is considered common. Unpleasant sensations may appear immediately and increase gradually, reaching a peak after 6 hours. The severity of hypersensitivity can differ; it depends on the pain threshold, the state of tooth enamel, and other individual factors. Some patients do not feel discomfort and calmly endure the first day after the procedure, while others have to take an anesthetic.
What are the contraindications for whitening?
There are few restrictions. We will not whiten the teeth of pregnant and lactating women and minor patients. Caries are best treated before the procedure, like other dental diseases in the acute stage. Contraindications are also:
- increased abrasion;
- exposure of the necks of the teeth.
Do not perform the procedure for patients with orthodontic structures and gum disease. It is better to postpone all aesthetic manipulations until the periodontium has recovered. In addition, we do not recommend bleaching for people with sensitive teeth. It will simply be difficult for them to endure the procedure to the end. In this case, you must first strengthen the enamel with remineralizing therapy.
Any restorations are not an obstacle to whitening. But we always warn our patients that fillings, veneers, and crowns are not exposed to the brightening composition. Therefore, after the end of the session, they may look darker against the background of their teeth. You need to be prepared for the fact that those restorations that are located in the smile zone will need to be replaced.
What are bleaching systems considered effective and safe?
To date, the most popular whitening system is ZOOM 4. This is the latest development from Philips, which helps to whiten teeth safely and comfortably for the patient.
How long does the whitening effect last? When can it be repeated?
It is difficult to give an exact date, as it depends on several factors: the type of bleaching, the initial shade of the teeth, and how closely the patient follows the recommendations. If all instructions are followed, the result will last a long time. Unfortunately, even modern systems cannot make a smile white forever. After some time, the shade will still change. The teeth will darken faster if a person smokes and often drinks strong tea or coffee. It is possible to re-do whitening without harm to the enamel in a year.
What is the difference between home and office teeth whitening?
Home and professional tooth whitening formulations contain different active ingredients. In addition, cabinet products are more concentrated, giving a more noticeable and lasting result. Another important difference is the duration of the procedure. Whitening in the dentist’s chair takes about an hour, and you can get the desired shade in one visit to the clinic. You need more time, up to several weeks, to achieve the same result with a home system. Therefore, it is still best used as a maintenance measure after a clinical procedure.
How effective are whitening strips, and how often can they be used?
The strips have become very popular – in advertising; they promise a wonderful effect without harm to the enamel simultaneously at a minimal cost. This method can hardly be called proven safe. It is impossible to determine the concentration of hydrogen peroxide accurately, and the composition indicated on the package may need to be revised. Too aggressive components damage the enamel, making it brittle and less resistant to caries. At best, the teeth will become so sensitive that even talking at first will hurt.
In addition, whitening strips can harm soft tissues since the gums are not protected during the procedure. Together with saliva, the gel enters the mucous membrane and causes burns. This is not only unpleasant but also fraught with consequences. If the strips are abused, chronic inflammation of the soft tissues can occur, eventually exposing the necks of the teeth.
How to keep the result for a long time?
To keep your teeth white for a long time, you must strictly follow the recommendations:
- follow a “white diet” – exclude all coloring foods for two weeks;
- carefully monitor oral hygiene;
- stop smoking;
- Come in for professional teeth cleaning every six months.
To maintain the result, it is unnecessary to undergo the full procedure again in the dentist’s office. During the first year, a short course of home whitening with trays can be performed. This is enough to keep your smile white as long as possible.
Why do teeth become darker after whitening?
Rollback usually happens due to non-compliance with the dentist’s recommendations after the procedure. Using coloring products in the early days, insufficient oral hygiene, smoking, and large volumes of coffee and strong tea led to teeth darkening a little.
Whitening is an excellent cosmetic technique. It helps to carefully and safely make a smile more beautiful. Before deciding on this procedure, it is important to find a dentist with whom there will be full mutual understanding and trust. If the preparation is carried out correctly, the specialist controls the whitening process, and you strictly follow the recommendations, the long-awaited result will be short. If you want to whiten your teeth at home, contact your trusted doctor; you don’t need to conduct dubious experiments since recovery after them can be long and painful.