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19 May 2024

Teeth Whitening: At the Dentist vs At Home

Teeth whitening of many kinds has grown in popularity in recent years. Our teeth are mostly white, but tooth enamel can develop various shades over time or be damaged or infected. Tooth discoloration may be due to a variety of causes, many of which you have control over – but teeth whitening can help.

Recent surveys have shown that the thing that most people would like to improve about their smile was the colour of their teeth, with some surveys showing that as many as 90% of those surveyed would like to have their teeth whitened.

Before you decide to teeth whitening, be sure you know the facts about the process and what to expect. You should also contact your dental provider to find out if teeth whitening is appropriate for you and to learn the best whitening method for your situation.

What can cause tooth discolouration?

You may notice a change in the colour of your teeth over time. There are several possible reasons for this change:

  • We all have a softer layer called Dentin under our tooth enamel. Our tooth enamel becomes thinner over time, exposing more of the yellowish dentin below.
  • Food and drink such as coffee, tea, and red wine are among the staining culprits that cause discoloration or staining on the white, outer part of your tooth (enamel). They contain chromogens that bond to the enamel and cause discoloration.
  • Some antihistamines, antipsychotics, and high blood pressure medications may have a side effect of tooth darkening. Teeth may turn brown if young children are exposed to tetracycline and doxycycline during tooth development or in the womb, chemotherapy or neck radiation darkens teeth, or chemotherapy and radiation treatment are used.
  • Tooth stains are caused by tar and nicotine in tobacco. Tar is naturally dark and stains teeth, while nicotine is colourless and stains them when mixed with oxygen. When nicotine is combined with oxygen while smoking, it produces a yellowish substance that stains teeth.
  • If a person’s tooth receives inadequate blood flow after getting hit in the mouth, it may change colour. The tooth may heal itself or may perish. It is critical to see to dental damage after a mouth injury and get a treatment plan developed by a dentist.

How does tooth whitening work?

The process of teeth whitening can be broken down into three steps, regardless of whether you do it at home or at the dentist. Depending on what product you use and whether you want to whiten professionally or at home, the steps vary.

Whitening treatments use either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to break down stains and reduce the amount of colour, making your teeth more visible.

Do teeth whitening work on everyone?

Unfortunately, not all teeth can be whitened. Therefore, it is critical to ask your dentist about the right process for your teeth. Certain whiteners may not correct all kinds of staining and discoloration. For example, yellowed teeth whiten well, whereas brown teeth might not and teeth with gray tones might not bleach.

Do not expect whitening to work on dental appliances such as caps, veneers, crowns, or fillings, as well as on teeth that have been bleached. The most common cause of teeth that are discoloured is medication or injury, so whitening is unlikely to be effective.

What tooth whitening options are available to me?

There are many methods for teeth whitening in addition to at-home teeth whitening. Make sure to speak to your doctor before starting any teeth whitening plan. The range of teeth whitening options includes both gentle surface whiteners as well as more powerful ones that can eliminate deeper stains.

Whitening Toothpaste

Toothpaste is the gentlest way to whiten your teeth. It is best to use toothpaste that doesn’t contain bleaching chemicals, since they are so gentle. It doesn’t work as well as bleaching toothpaste, but it is safe for sensitive teeth. Whitening toothpaste polishes the teeth rather than bleaches them, so it doesn’t have as much of an impact on the tooth’s appearance. This might take some time to see results, though.

At-home Teeth Whitening

You can buy whitening kits from your dentist or from the medicine counter. There are whitening strips, trays, lights, rinses, and brushes, all of which are available in at-home whitening kits. Peroxide, which works below the surface to lighten tooth enamel, is applied to the teeth occasionally over several days or weeks.

Your dentist may create a whitening tray that fits your upper and lower teeth better than the typical one-size-fits-all trays sold at the store. You’ll squeeze the whitening gel into the trays and wear them for short periods of time during the day or throughout the night, depending on your dentist’s recommendation. If you wear the trays for too long, the peroxide in the gel may irritate your teeth and/or gums, so be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions.

Professional Teeth Whitening

At-home whitening methods are not nearly as powerful as professional whitening. In addition to being more powerful, in-office whiteners contain more peroxide. That means your teeth can be transformed faster than with other approaches.

The in-office whitening process takes about an hour. To keep the teeth protected, a rubber or protective gel shield can be used in conjunction with the peroxide. Occasionally, a laser or light is used in conjunction with the peroxide.

What are the differences between at-home and dentist teeth whitening?

It is important to choose the correct teeth whitening strategy based on your dental health and goals, at-home or professional teeth whitening. The following are some of the most important differences between the two:

  • Tooth whitening at the dental office is usually more expensive than at-home teeth whitening kits. At-home teeth whitening kits are more dependable but take longer to achieve and maintain whitening than professional teeth whitening. Tooth enamel may vary in quality based on your oral health, so consistent results may not be achieved with at-home kits.
  • The length will last. Depending on the concentrated solution used for in-clinic teeth whitening, the tooth’s surface may be able to penetrate deeper below the surface, resulting in a longer-lasting tooth-whitening effect.
  • The time it will take. The amount of time you would spend whitening your teeth at the dentist’s office versus whitening them at home would be significant. At the dentist’s office, you would spend 1 to 2 hours and leave with teeth 8 shades lighter, whereas at home you would have to spend 1 to 2 hours a day over a series of days or weeks to achieve 3 to 6 shades lighter.

If you are interested in having your teeth whitened, or other dental treatments such as dental implants then why not schedule an appointment with Cheadle Hulme Dental to talk over your options?

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