A Guide to Teeth Whitening: Facts Everyone Should Know Beforehand

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Even the most beautiful smile can at times lose its charm with time and age, which is only natural. A simple teeth whitening session can, however, give us back that lost charm by cleaning and brightening our teeth to the point where they begin to appear even better than they originally were.

However, as it is with any medical procedure, there are some facts that everyone should be aware of in advance to make an informed decision, as well as to maximize their treatments.

Why Did Your Teeth Become Stained in the First Place?

Staining of the teeth is a common phenomenon and the primary reason why people choose to go for teeth whitening sessions. Sometimes, a person’s teeth may not exactly become stained, but they may become dull after losing their natural shine. The exact reasons will vary from person to person, but the following are the usual culprits.

  • Smoking and chewing tobacco are the two most common and damaging reasons for stains
  • Consumption of coffee, soda, and other caffeinated beverages on a daily basis in large amounts
  • Our teeth are naturally on the yellower side, to begin with, and aging makes that fact more prominent

Is There Any Preparation Involved?

While teeth whitening is one of the simplest and most routine procedures in cosmetic dental care, preparation for the treatment is essential. Some of the common steps to take are as follows.

  • Get your teeth checked and approved for the procedure by a dentist first
  • Professional teeth cleaning will be necessary before the sessions can begin
  • If you have a sensitive tooth or two, they will need to be desensitized first

This is just meant to give you a general idea regarding what to expect, but to know how to prepare for a teeth whitening session if you have already decided on going for the treatment, you should visit Dr. Mark Danziger’s official site for more detailed and step by step information on the subject. The dedicated page on the site, which has all the information you will need to get prepared for your teeth whitening session, has been linked above.

What Exactly is Teeth Whitening?

Now we come to the most obvious question of them all; what on earth is a teeth whitening session after all? We all know it’s meant to make our teeth whiter and brighter, but how do they do it exactly?

A lot depends on the dentist and the kind of products they use, as well as the exact procedure followed by them to clean and brighten your teeth, but mostly, the chemicals used are either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Irrespective of the brand of the product, either one of the two is going to be in it for sure.

The peroxide does the main job here, as it gets inside the enamel by slowly penetrating the upper layer. On reaching inside, the peroxide then detects the foreign molecules of the stains, breaks them down through oxidation and by the end of the process, your teeth are stain-free. It is a safe process mostly, with almost no side effects to speak of.

What Teeth Whitening Products are Available for You to Choose From?

If you are going to a professional, it is likely that he/she will recommend or insist on a particular type of product, while others may give you the option to make your own choice. In any case, it’s just better to know what your options are before actually going in.

  • Whitening trays, whitening strips, and whitening powders
  • Whitening gel applied on the teeth via a toothbrush
  • Blue LED machine for teeth whitening
  • Any undisclosed method used by the dentist in the office

You might have noticed that teeth whitening toothpastes were excluded from this list, but that doesn’t mean they are completely useless though because whitening toothpaste has a role to play, but it is one that comes later on, as you will see next.

What About Teeth Whitening Toothpastes?

That teeth whitening toothpaste you have at home isn’t going to remove stains because it’s just not strong enough. However, whitening pastes do have an application, as they are meant to be used for maintenance after a professional teeth whitening procedure has been completed by a dentist or an orthodontist.

When Should You Get a Teeth Cleaning and Whitening Session Done Professionally?

A few sessions at home with an OTC product is alright, but there are times when you need to get serious about it and find a reputed professional in your area to get the cleaning and whitening done. The following are some of the common situations during which professional teeth whitening can be deemed quite important.

  • The discoloration and yellowing is prominent enough to make you conscious about it
  • People often mention it, or you find them stealing glances at your teeth
  • An important public event such a wedding, anniversary or a big party of some kind is coming up
  • You have a job interview coming up soon and the stains/discoloration is quite prominent
  • You have a big date and your stain/discoloration is hampering your confidence

Are There Any Side-Effects?

Teeth whitening is a medically certified and FDA approved safe process which won’t cause any specific harm to your teeth, gum or any other part of the body. However, that doesn’t mean it cannot have side-effects though.

The only real side-effect which a majority of the people experience after going through with a teeth whitening session is increased sensitivity. This applies to both the teeth and the gums, but it is a temporary reaction. The extra sensitivity will go away within a week or two at worst.

Now that we have discussed all the important bits, let us leave you with one final piece of advice. During the session and right after it, small white patches might appear on your teeth. This is a temporary effect and a sign that the peroxide is oxidizing stains effectively. In a few days, this will go away permanently too, leaving you with bright, white teeth.