Teeth get stained or discolored due to several reasons. Badly stained teeth affect one’s personality and restrict people from smiling with freedom. That’s why people opt for different teeth whitening treatments to restore their colour and to make them brighter and whiter.
There are several teeth whitening options that one can choose from. People can visit their dentist to discuss their teeth whitening options or can also try at-home whitening products. Though there are some side effects from teeth whitening, most conventional whitening treatments are safe to use as long as people follow the directions given by their dentist or oral hygienist. There are numerous benefits of dental teeth whitening, which generally include the following:
- Boosts self-confidence.
- Shows quicker results.
- Improves oral health.
The active ingredients in almost all teeth whitening products are carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide is a stable compound that breaks down in contact with water to release hydrogen peroxide. The constituents present in all standard whitening gels are generally safe for your teeth.
However, in some rare cases, hydrogen peroxide can have harmful effects in high concentrations if used over prolonged periods. But by following precautionary measures, these whitening procedures brighten darkly stained teeth without causing severe side effects.
A study demonstrated that patients who used excessive whitening protocols for over 6 months showed no harmful effects even after 7 years. There are generally two types of tooth discoloration, i.e., intrinsic, and extrinsic. Intrinsic tooth discoloration occurs due to the inner layer of the tooth or the enamel itself.
Whereas extrinsic stains originate on the tooth’s surface and external factors become a reason for this type of darkening. However, teeth whitening treatments are more effective for extrinsic teeth discoloration.
Different Teeth Whitening Options
You can opt for different over-the-counter teeth whitening products to get rid of badly stained or discolored teeth. If your teeth are intrinsically discolored, over-the-counter teeth whiteners may not work as effectively or may take longer to brighten your teeth. Always try to follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using a tooth whitening product.
- Whitening Toothpaste
Most teeth-whitening toothpastes do not contain carbamide peroxide in their composition. Instead, these toothpastes target the surface of discolored teeth with a variety of substances, including abrasives and different chemicals. Toothpastes usually take long periods to work but can prove to be beneficial in the long run.
- Whitening Strips
You can also consider getting over-the-counter whitening strips for discolored teeth. These contain a smaller amount of hydrogen peroxide than other professional whitening products. You can apply them once or twice a day to your teeth for a specific period. Various whitening strip products are available, each at different concentrations of bleaching gels.
- Activated Charcoal and Other Home-Based Methods.
Activated charcoal is another treatment to whiten highly stained teeth. However, this method is not scientifically proven, and one should discuss it with a dentist before trying it. But in some cases, it can also show significant results.
- Custom-Made Whitening Trays
Custom-made whitening trays are quite like premade trays in their costs and application. Still, custom-made trays are considered a much more effective and safe method for teeth whitening. Moreover, these whitening trays are custom-made to fit your teeth, and you do not have to worry about the gel getting on your gums and causing discomfort or irritation.
- In-Office Whitening
In-office teeth whitening is by far the best and most effective method of teeth whitening. Rather than using other whitening methods multiple times for prolonged periods, one can notice significant results just after a single in-office whitening treatment.
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In this procedure, dentists use a highly concentrated peroxide formula to brighten your teeth. Although it is the most effective form of whitening, it still might not be the most suitable option for certain people due to its higher cost.
Side effects Of Teeth Whitening Treatments
Though teeth whitening is considered a safe procedure, some people can still experience side effects from these treatments.
Some common side effects of teeth whitening procedures usually include the following:
- Teeth sensitivity: In some cases, teeth can become more sensitive after a tooth whitening treatment. People might experience this on their first or second treatment, and it may fade away with time. The dentist may also recommend treating sensitivity with products that contain potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride gel.
- Irritated gums: After certain teeth whitening treatments, people can also experience problems like gingival irritation. This happens when your gums become more sensitive to certain whitening products. However, this side effect is temporary and typically goes away after the treatment.
Teeth Whitening Safety Tips:
By following some instructions, people can prevent all the potential side effects of teeth whitening treatments.
These directions usually include the following:
- Do not leave whitening gel or strips: for extended periods on your teeth and after their application, try to avoid soda, sports drinks, or other acidic beverages for a few hours to protect your teeth.
- Protect sensitive teeth: Your teeth may become a little bit more sensitive after whitening procedures, but this period is usually brief. It might not be an issue if your gums and teeth are in good shape. If certain teeth whitening agents bother you, stop the treatment and talk to your dentist. Gel-filled trays, which you wear over your teeth once a month are usually enough if you follow a product’s directions.
What Is the Best Method to Whiten Darkly Stained Teeth?
There are several teeth whitening methods that one can opt for depending on tooth discoloration and requirements. However, if one wants to get quick and effective results, in-office bleaching provides the quickest way to whiten teeth. With in-office bleaching, the whitening product is directly applied to the darkly stained teeth.
These products can be used with the help of a special light or a laser. Results of this procedure can be acquired within 30 to 60 minutes.
How Long Do Whitening Agents Such as Hydrogen Peroxide Take to Whiten Yellow or Dull Teeth?
Usually, the whitening process mainly depends on the severity of discolored teeth. However, if someone uses hydrogen peroxide twice a day for 60 seconds each, it can take up to 3 months to see a few shade improvements in tooth colour.