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Tooth whitening – FAQ

Before making your final decision regarding whitening your teeth, you still might have some questions. In this article, we’ll try to answer at least some of them.

Why are our teeth yellow?

Nobody is born with a perfect, white smile. The color of our teeth is mostly conditioned by:

  • internal factors:
  • chemical composition of teeth,
  • tissue mineralization levels,
  • dentin color,
  • enamel tone,
  • taking antibiotics based on tetracycline in our youth,
  • age,
  • various illnesses, like fluorosis or diabetes
  • translucency of teeth tissue;
  • external factors:
  • tartar accumulation,
  • smoking tobacco,
  • consuming lots of coloring foods and drinks.

As you can see, there are many factors leading to tooth discoloration and, what’s worse, we can’t do anything in case of some of them.

Can we whiten our teeth at home?

There are many ways to brighten our smiles at home, but they aren’t 100% recommended. Amongst the most popular whitening methods we can find:
using the purified salt we need to brush our teeth with every day. Unfortunately, this element has a negative effect on the health of our teeth – it does remove the discolorations, but it damages the enamel as well. Moreover, the purified salt can be found in most of the toothpastes in safe doses, which makes using it separately rather pointless.
lemon – the citric acid has bleaching properties. Unfortunately, it can also soften and destroy the enamel, while the sugars contained in this fruit might lead to cavities.
salt – we can stumble upon the individuals who brush their teeth with salt in order to remove any discoloration. This isn’t the right way to whiten our teeth though – if anything, it’s perfect for ruining the enamel.

Is tooth whitening harmful?

As long as it’s conducted at the professional dentistry office or at home, but under the supervision of a specialist, definitely not. We should remember though that the teeth might become sensitive for some time after the procedure.

The whitening alone doesn’t ruin the enamel, but we should avoid doing it too often – especially when it comes to the whitening toothpastes with high RDA levels, which shouldn’t be in use for longer than two months.

Is toothpaste capable of effective whitening?

If we’ll choose the product whitening our teeth chemically, it will be able to brighten our teeth by one to three shades, but only if the discolorations are on the surface of our tooth. The internal discolorations cannot be removed at home.

Will our teeth be white right after the procedure?

That depends on the method you’re using. The teeth whitened by a lamp or laser will become white immediately, while using the overlays or stripes might take a few weeks. This allows us to gradually whiten our teeth little by little in order to achieve the natural color.

Is the whitening effect permanent?

Unfortunately, the whitening effect will disappear over time. Depending on our method, we can maintain it for somewhere around 6 months (in case of the whitening stripes) or even two years, if we’ll brighten our teeth using the laser.

Does whitening hurt?

The procedure shouldn’t hurt (unless we have some untreated cavities), but wearing stripes, overlays or the general treatment at the office can be uncomfortable. Moreover, the active substances used for whitening can irritate the gums or mucous membranes.

Does whitening leads to tooth sensitivity?

As long as it was done correctly – no. After the procedure we can experience tooth sensitivity for a week, but it will go away. In the minority of the people, the teeth might become more sensitive to the external stimuli. In this case, our dentist might recommend various treatments, such as fluorisation.

Does the procedure whiten the dead teeth, crowns and fillings?

Unfortunately, none of the above can be whitened using the conventional methods. If we want to change the color of crowns and fillings, we must get ourselves the new ones. Dead teeth on the other hand can be whitened by the so-called external whitening method or by mounting a crown on them at the dentistry office.

Are there any contraindications?

Yes, but there’s only a few of them. The whitening shouldn’t be performed in these cases:

  • pregnant women,
  • breast-feeding women,
  • people suffering from epilepsy,
  • people with Parkinsons,
  • children at the age of below 16,
  • people with sensitive teeth,
  • people with the exposed necks of their teeth,
  • those with untreated cavities.

Should we prepare our teeth for the whitening procedure?

Definitely yes. A preparatory dentist visit is heavily recommended, as this will allow us to get rid of the cavities, tartar and plaque. Moreover, our dentist might recommend us a replacement of our fillings if their color can make them stand out amongst our whitened teeth.

Does the regular whitening increases the risk of cavities forming?

If our teeth are being whitened at the professional dentistry office or at home using legit products, there’s no risk of cavities.

What is the white diet?

The white diet is a way of eating we should stick to all throughout the whitening procedures and the period of between 2 days and 2 weeks after their end. It’s based around consuming only the products which don’t cause any discolorations during the specified period of time, eliminating the ones which contain lots of food dyes. The products we should avoid at all costs are:

  • cigarettes,
  • coffee, tea, wine,
  • beets, tomatoes, carrots and other colorful vegetables,
  • fizzy drinks, juices (even the natural ones)
  • berries, cherries, blueberries and other fruits which can discolor our teeth.

If we won’t stick to the white diet at least for two days after whitening our teeth, we can contract some unsightly discolorations and ruin the entire whitening effect.

Prices of whitening

The prices of certain ways of whitening our teeth might differ from one another, depending on the city. Usually though, they look like this:

  • whitening toothpaste – from 8 pounds;
  • whitening stripes by a renowned company- about 11 pounds;
  • gel with overlays – about 50 pounds;
  • overlay method at the dentistry office – about 200-300 pounds;
  • whitening using a lamp/laser – usually starts at 500 pounds.