The history of humanity taught us that there is hidden desire in everybody to look younger, healthier and more attractive. The color and the whiteness of the teeth, as a kind of the health indicators, are very important factors in an image-building of the youth and vitality. People have been searching for methods and techniques to improve the look of their teeth, and even if they do it naturally at home (with lemon and baking soda) or in a dental clinic under the supervision of the dental therapist, they all have the same goal – a new bright and shining smile. Aesthetic dentistry is becoming more and more popular. In the searching of the most conservative, least aggressive and economically acceptable therapy, teeth whitening has been singled out as the first option treatment of tooth discoloration.

Tooth color and discolorations

The color of the tooth is the combination of the inner tooth color and the possible presence of the stains placed on the external surface of the tooth. The inner tooth color depends on the light refraction as well as on absorption capabilities of the enamel and dentin. Extrinsic discolorations tend to form on surfaces which are less accessible for the cleaning and abrasive action of the toothpaste and are most commonly caused by smoking, excessive coffee or wine drinking and by consuming foods high in acids. Intrinsic discolorations arise as a result of a structural change in the composition or in a thickness of hard dental tissue. These discolorations occur during teeth development and result in a change of the light transmission through the dental structure and can be caused by local or systematic factors. In clinical practice, this type of color changes can be seen in patients mostly due to the extensive usage of tetracycline, fluorosis, dental trauma or pulp necrosis. Besides the main classification of tooth discoloration, separated into two groups (extrinsic and intrinsic), some authors offer the third one – internalized discoloration. It literally means that during the tooth development extrinsic stain is incorporated within the tooth substance [1]. For example, dental materials like pastes used for the root canal obturation can contain ingredients such as phenol and silver nitrate and if are absorbed by hard dental tissues can cause this type of discoloration.  

Teeth whitening – procedures and types

Nowadays, the internet is full of articles about how to naturally whiten your teeth and there are plenty of methods how to do it by yourself. Some of them are effective, others not. The truth is that these procedures can have a huge impact on maintaining good oral health and in the prevention of caries and periodontal disease. By their implementation during the daily oral hygiene regime and if are used in a proper manner (the way that will not cause more harm than good), things like baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can offer a lot of benefits. As an abrasive agent, baking soda can mechanically remove only external stains on the tooth surface. On the other hand, hydrogen peroxide affects the deeper layers of the tooth and it’s responsible for the whitening of the inner tooth color. That is the main reason why many whitening products on the dental market contain these two ingredients. However, extensive use or mixing it in a high concentration for a homemade whitening paste could lead to severe complications such as sensitive teeth and gums, but also unpleasant sensation and taste in the mouth. Another one praised on the internet, the combination is baking soda with lemon juice. Since it was found that acid in a lemon juice damages tooth enamel [2] (high pH of baking soda doesn’t have enough potential to neutralize it), using of this mixture must be considered carefully.

Patients often believe in various instant and scientifically un-verified ways of whitening teeth that can be found everywhere. Because of ignorance, they easily enter the vicious circle of failure and unwanted effects and are often dissatisfied and disappointed because they still have an unresolved aesthetic problem. Dental Suits experienced team and well-informed dental therapists from the dental suits clinics can successfully solve this matter. The dental suits clinics offer various teeth whitening treatment options to meet the patient’s financial and cosmetic needs by using products and procedures with clarified and proven results. The treatment plan is based on the diagnosis, the patient’s wishes and possibilities, but also on his willingness to cooperate. The bleaching technique determination is depending on the type of discoloration, as well as whether it is a single tooth discoloration (vital or devitalized tooth) or generalized discoloration. It is necessary to inform the patient that the fixed crowns and composite fillings cannot be bleached and to plan to replace the existing fillings after the treatment is completed. There are two basic professional teeth whitening techniques:

– PROFESSIONAL AT-HOME TEETH WHITENING

The professional at-home whitening treatment begins by taking impressions of both dental arches, upper and lower teeth. These impressions are used for making two specified trays, which fit the patient’s teeth perfectly and are easy and comfortable for use. After the trays are ready for use, the dental therapist will recommend appropriate teeth whitening kit – gels which are mostly containing medium to high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. It is very important to follow the dentist’s instructions and demonstrations to know how to properly dispense and apply the gel into the trays. This is why it is crucial to made custom trays: to keep the whitening gel on the surface of the tooth and limit the exposure of it to the sensitive gums area. For best results, these trays should be worn for half an hour, twice a day or in some cases overnight, in a two weeks period. The main advantage of at-home whitening procedure is, as it said, that you can get a brighter smile in the comfort of your home.

PROFESSIONAL IN-OFFICE WHITENING

The professional in-office whitening treatment delivers optimum results over in a short time period, almost instantly. It is a relatively easy procedure for an experienced dental therapist and can be done in a few steps. Treatment begins with the removal of dental plaque and teeth polishing. After a protective coating has been applied over gums and exposed dentine, the high concentrated gel (hydrogen peroxide) should be applied on the front surface of the teeth. The gel can stay on teeth from 15 to 30 minutes and after removal, it could be placed again, in cycles, up to three times. Depending on the brand, some in-office whitening kits need a curing light or even laser to activate the peroxide and its diffusion into the enamel.

*In both treatments, initial and shade of the teeth after the procedure should be recorded. Before/after photos will show the ultimate result and an additional dental appointment can be scheduled until the desired shade is obtained.

Results of the teeth whitening

Since the professional teeth whitening is considered as a safe dental procedure and its results can be visible up to two years, there are no obstacles for achieving the brighter, healthier and more attractive smile. In some patients, teeth sensitivity can occur as an adverse effect, but with the right technique of gel applying and the use of adequate products, the risk of these side effects could be minimalized. A fluoride application on sensitive teeth can also be a kind of measure to help ease these sensations. It is important to talk to your dentist and to express your expectations before treatment. The dental suite clinics offer teeth whitening treatments for every patient and provide the best possible result in the therapy of teeth discolorations. After the treatment at Dental Suite, the teeth will always look brighter than they were (up to 8 shades) and the patient will be satisfied with the final outcome.

References:

1. Watts, A. and M. Addy, Tooth discoloration and staining: a review of the literature.Br Dent J, 2001. 190(6): p. 309-16.

2. Zimme r S, Kirchner G, Bizhang M, Benedix M. Influence of various acidic beverages on tooth erosion. Evaluation by a new method. PLoS One. 2015;10(6):e0129462. Published 2015 Jun 2. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0129462

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