Teeth whitening is the treatment of discoloration and yellowing on the natural tooth surface, which may be due to different reasons, by using whitening gels with various methods. Whitening is an extremely safe and effective treatment option when applied under the control of a physician. Before bleaching, patients are first examined and the physician decides whether the patient is suitable for bleaching treatment. In case the teeth or gums are not healthy, the physician first applies the necessary treatments and after all oral health is restored, the whitening process is applied. Patients with receded gums and open root surfaces due to periodontal disease, extensive caries, severe enamel erosion, or severe sensitivity are not suitable for whitening treatment. However, whitening treatment is not applied to pregnant women and those under the age of 18.
It is not possible to lighten the color of the previously made fillings and restorations in the
anterior teeth with bleaching treatment.
For this reason, color differences may occur between the natural teeth whitening after the
whitening process and the old restorations.
Old restorations may need to be replaced, as this will spoil the aesthetic appearance.
Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?
Teeth can turn yellow for a variety of reasons. Some common causes include:
- Age: As we get older, the enamel on our teeth can wear away, revealing the yellow dentin underneath.
- Genetics: Some people are born with thinner enamel, which can make teeth more susceptible to yellowing.
- Lifestyle habits: Consuming certain foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco can cause staining.
- Poor oral hygiene: Not brushing and flossing regularly can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria, which can cause yellowing.
- Medications: Certain antibiotics and other medications can cause teeth to yellow.
- Trauma: Trauma to the teeth can cause them to change color.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all yellowing is caused by the same thing, so it’s best to consult with a dentist to determine the cause and the best treatment options.
What are the Teeth Whitening Methods?
There are several methods for whitening, including:
- In-office teeth whitening: This procedure is performed by a dentist or dental professional in the dental office. It involves the use of a bleaching agent, such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, and a special light or laser to activate the bleaching agent and speed up the whitening process.
- Teeth whitening at home: This method involves custom-fitted trays that are filled with a bleaching agent and worn by the patient for a certain period of time each day. The trays are made specifically for you by the dentist and will fit your teeth perfectly.
- Over-the-counter products: These include teeth whitening strips, gels, toothpaste, and mouth trays that can be purchased at a drugstore. These products typically contain a lower concentration of bleaching agents compared to those used by dentists and may take longer to achieve the desired results.
- Whitening toothpaste: This type of toothpaste contains mild abrasives and chemicals that can help remove surface stains on the teeth. They can be used as regular toothpaste, but they may not be as effective as other methods.
- Natural teeth whitening methods: This includes using baking soda, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, charcoal, and other natural ingredients to whiten teeth. These methods are not scientifically proven to be effective, but some people use them as an alternative to chemical-based methods.
It is always recommended to consult your dentist before starting any whitening procedure, whether it is at home or professional, to make sure which method is suitable for you and to avoid any potential damage or sensitivity to your teeth.
Professional Teeth Whitening (Office Bleaching)
Professional teeth whitening, also known as chairside bleaching, is a procedure that is performed by a dentist or dental professional. This type of whitening is more effective than over-the-counter products and can produce longer-lasting results.
There are two main types of professional teeth whitening procedures: in-office and take-home.
In-office teeth whitening is a procedure that is performed in the dentist’s office. This procedure typically takes about an hour and involves applying a bleaching agent, such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, to the teeth. A special light or laser may be used to activate the bleaching agent and speed up the whitening process. The dentist will also protect your gums and surrounding areas before the procedure.
Take-home whitening involves custom-fitted trays that are filled with a bleaching agent and worn by the patient for a certain period of time each day. This method can be used as a follow-up to in-office whitening or as a standalone treatment. The trays are made specifically for you by the dentist and will fit your teeth perfectly.
It is important to note that professional teeth whitening may not be suitable for everyone and may not be effective for some individuals. It is best to consult a dentist to determine if professional teeth whitening is a good option for you and to receive professional teeth cleaning before whitening.
Teeth Whitening At Home
At-home teeth whitening involves using over-the-counter products, such as whitening strips, gels, toothpaste, and mouth trays. These products typically contain a lower concentration of bleaching agents compared to those used by dentists and may take longer to achieve the desired results.
Whitening strips are thin, flexible plastic strips that are coated with a whitening gel. They are applied to the teeth for a certain period of time, usually 30 minutes to an hour, once or twice a day.
Whitening gels are applied using a mouth tray that is worn for a certain period of time, usually 30 minutes to an hour, once or twice a day. The tray is usually filled with a small amount of gel and is worn over the teeth.
Whitening toothpaste contains mild abrasives and chemicals that can help remove surface stains on the teeth. They can be used as regular toothpaste, but they may not be as effective as other methods.
It is important to note that over-the-counter whitening products may not be as effective as professional teeth whitening and may cause tooth sensitivity. It is always recommended to consult your dentist before starting any whitening procedure, whether it is at home or professional.
Natural Teeth Whitening
Some of the natural teeth whitening methods include:
- Brushing and flossing regularly
- Using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to make a paste and brush your teeth
- Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, celery, and carrots
- Using charcoal as toothpaste or powder to brush your teeth
- Using an apple cider vinegar rinse
- Using a turmeric paste mixed with coconut oil
- Eating strawberries and rubbing the inside of the peel on your teeth
- Avoiding things that can stain teeth like smoking, drinking coffee or tea
It is important to note that some natural methods may take longer to see results compared to professional or over-the-counter treatments. It’s also important to maintain good oral hygiene such as visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups to help prevent new stains from forming on your teeth. Consult with a dentist before undergoing any teeth whitening treatment.
Our dentists do not recommend over-the-counter treatment methods.
What Should Be Considered After Teeth Whitening?
After the in-office whitening procedure, the teeth may experience short-term hot and cold sensitivity. This is completely normal and will go away on its own within a few days. If desired, desensitizing gels can be applied by the physician, or desensitizing toothpaste can be used. Teeth tend to become more discolored, especially in the first week after whitening.
After whitening, it is important to avoid certain foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, such as coffee, tea, and dark-colored fruits and vegetables. Additionally, you should avoid smoking and using tobacco products, as these can also stain your teeth. It’s also a good idea to maintain good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing regularly and visiting your dentist for regular check-ups.