Know Before You Go: 7 Must-Know Facts About Teeth Whitening

Know Before You Go: 7 Must-Know Facts About Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is among the most common aesthetic dental treatments that could cost you a bit more than regular cleaning.

For most dental clients who opt for this treatment, it works well without any problems or regrets. However, for a few patients, it may not turn out to be the best option for them. This is because certain factors must be considered before you decide whether the treatment is a good option for you.

Just like fingerprints, dental patterns are individually unique but so is the sensitivity and attractiveness of teeth among individuals. Factors such as the genes, diet, drinking and smoking can significantly affect the way teeth may respond to a teeth whitening treatment.

Here are seven important facts that you should know before booking an appointment with your dentist for the aforementioned procedure:

1. Teeth are not created equal

You cannot expect to have the same immaculate result as others who have undergone teeth bleaching.

No matter what the brochure or advertisement might say, not all teeth consistently respond to the treatment. Basic teeth whitening may remove common discolorations caused by stains from regularly drinking coffee or smoking cigarettes but those with sensitive gums and teeth may not have the same results.

If you have sensitive gums and teeth, you may not be able to tolerate the treatment due to pain or general discomfort. On the other hand, if you are wearing a crown or veneers, some parts of your teeth will be shielded from any whitening agent. As a result, the colour will be uneven and unattractive.

2. Teeth are porous

The main reason why your teeth become dark overtime is because of their porosity.

Your teeth have microscopic holes on the enamel that absorb and retain the pigments from the beverages that you drink and from the food that you eat. Plaque may also build up overtime and take hold on the porous surface if you are not properly brushing and flossing.

Stains that are deeply seated in the tooth pores are virtually impossible to remove by simply brushing and using toothpaste. No matter how hard you brush, stain particulates cannot be dislodged from the pores without using bleaching agents because some stains have already reacted chemically with the teeth.

3. Bleaching agents chemically react with stains

The active ingredient in teeth whitening products is hydrogen peroxide which releases extra oxygen into the teeth pores, breaking the molecular bonds of the stains. You may also use baking powder as alternative.

Bleaching agents can be very effective on yellowish teeth and whitening procedures are successful 90 percent of the time.

However, some types of discolorations cannot be completely bleached like the gray stains caused by smoking. This type of stain can also be caused by too much fluoride. Bleaching per se does not damage the teeth enamel but it could potentially damage the roots by inadvertently killing the nerves and the blood supply to the tooth pulp.

4. Abrasive whitening is potentially damaging

Using toothpastes with abrasive particulates like activated charcoal is another non-chemical means of whitening your teeth.
You can do it at home but you should proceed with caution. You must ask your dentist about the recommended relative dentine abrasivity (RDA) for your teeth. Whitening toothpastes typically have an RDA rating between 100 and 200.

You will need expert advice on how to properly use whitening toothpastes to avoid damaging the enamel and dentine of your teeth. Remember, these layers do not regenerate once they are damaged. Using abrasive toothpastes wear away some particles of the enamel to expose and remove the stains.

5. Ultraviolet light is an option

A dentist might also recommend UV light treatment to whiten your teeth.

UV light is a high energy capacity light that can ionise molecules. It works in a similar way as bleaching agents by breaking down the molecular bonds of the stains.

Using ultraviolet light does not carry with it the side effect of pain or teeth sensitivity because it does not damage the teeth. However, it can potentially cause cellular damage in the gums. At high levels of radiation applied in a series of treatments, the radiation may trigger cancerous growth inside the mouth. Hence, it should be applied in moderation.

6. Mild sensitivity is normal

You should expect some sensitivity and discomfort once you have undergone a dental bleaching treatment.

This is normal as the nerves of your teeth would have been stimulated. However, if you already have sensitive teeth and gums, your dentist might not recommend the procedure because of the risk of further worsening the situation.

Under normal conditions, however, the sensitivity will eventually wear off as the nerves recover. On the other hand, mild analgesics may also be recommended by your dentist if the sensitivity worsens or does not go away as expected.

While no one can promise to be a ‘no pain dentist,’ here at 247 Dental, we promise to take special care to make you as comfortable as possible while we keep your teeth healthy and sparkling.

7. Teeth whitening can be expensive

Depending on where you live, you can expect to spend a few hundreds to thousands of dollars on a professional teeth whitening treatment.

However, you can also expect the longevity of the results to be of a much longer duration when compared to whitening options available in supermarkets and pharmacies.

If you want to have a wider range of options and you want round-the-clock availability of dental services, 247 Dental can offer you the best and most affordable treatment options.

Call now to book an appointment.

Dr. Michael Letham is the owner and dentist at 24/7 Dental and Bayside Smiles. He graduated from Sydney University in 2000 with Honours, receiving the R Morse Withycombe Prize for Proficiency in Clinical Periodontics (gum treatment). Striving to provide a modern, holistic approach to dental care that is tailored to each individual's requirements, Mike's focus is on being thorough and meticulous whilst being caring and compassionate.