What is tooth whitening
Today, tooth whitening is the most common aesthetic intervention to someone’s teeth and smile. It is a simple and economic dental procedure and ensures, immediately, an impressive result.
Tooth whitening is the process by which pigments and stains, that have been absorbed on the tooth surface, are removed resulting in the highlighting of the bright natural color of the tooth. It is wrong to believe that the materials used in tooth whitening contain white coloring matter that “color” the teeth white. For this reason tooth whitening does not have the same effect on all patients.
It is also important to know that teeth covered by dental crowns or that have dental fillings cannot be benefited by the whitening process, because the color of these materials can’t be altered.
Tooth whitening can be carried out in two ways: a) controllably at the dental office, in one session, with the use of a special lamp (i.e. ZOOM) and b) at home with the use of a special whitening gel that is placed on a custom made dental whitening tray. In the last case scenario, the patient wears the dental tray several hours during the day and the process can last up to several days.
Nowadays, tooth whitening is very popular because the aesthetic effect is exceptional and affects positively the psychology of the patients.
At Dental Group we use various systems of teeth whitening (i.e ZOOM). It is an effective, safe and customized procedure, that adjusts to the teeth particularities of every patient. The whitening effect is a healthy, bright and natural color.
Teeth whitening is performed by experienced dentists. It is a relatively brief and totally painless procedure. It lasts about 45-75 minutes. After the gingival (gums) are isolated, the teeth are coated with a whitening gel which is activated with the use of a specific whitening lamp. The whitening result is immediate and apparent as soon as the procedure is completed.
The whitening process can be continued at home and the whitening effect can be preserved at home as well (i.e. ZOOM at home). When such a case occurs, the dentist prepares a custom made pair of whitening trays. The patient places the whitening gel, provided by the dentist, and the patient adjusts them to his/her teeth for some period of time, according to the dentist’s instructions.
Teeth whitening can be performed at home as well by the patient. When such a case occurs, the dentist fabricates a custom made pair of whitening discs trays. In these trays the patient places the whitening gel provided by the dentist, and the patient adjusts them to his/her teeth for some period of time, according to the dentist’s instructions.
The main disadvantages of teeth whitening at home as compared to teeth whitening at the dental office are: 1) the whitening result is apparent after several days instead of 45-75 minutes, and 2) in cases where there are roots exposed (recession), the patient lacks the ability to isolate them from the whitening gel. This may result in the development of tooth sensitivity which may become a rather unpleasant situation for the patient.
Almost all patients can be benefited by teeth whitening. The whitening procedure, though, should not take place in the following circumstances:
- during pregnancy and breast feeding
- at patients with carious lesions
- at patients with teeth hyper-sensitivity
- at children and teenagers
- at patients with extensive prosthetic rehabilitations (crowns, bridges, fillings). To those patients the whitening procedure won’t alter the color of the restorations, resulting in a non homogeneous whitening effect
- at patients that have not previously removed dental plaque and tartar
- at patients that have root exposure (recession). In those cases, it is highly recommended that the whitening procedure takes place at the dental office in order for the dentist to isolate and protect the roots from the whitening gel.
As in every technique applied to living tissues, teeth whitening can have some side effects. Of coarse, every patient reacts differently to teeth whitening process, however, the most significant side effects that may occur are:
- root sensitivity
- gingival (gum) irritation
Both side effects, if they occur, are temporary and they disappear after the end of the procedure or after a few days. In order to prevent or reduce root sensitivity, a special cream containing vitamin K is applied on the teeth.
Studies have shown that the whitening substances used by the dentists do not harm neither the tooth enamel nor the gums.
Frequently asked questions concerning teeth whitening
Teeth whitening is safe for the teeth and the gums, as long as it is performed in a professional way and no exaggerations are made. The whitening systems used at Dental Group are totally safe, fast and completely painless. They are performed at the dental office by qualified and experienced dentists.
Discolorations and stains made from coloring substances, contained in coffee, tea, cigarettes are removed safely from the teeth, which gain again their lost natural color and brightness.
Equally safe is also the whitening procedure at home with the whitening tray that the dentist provides to the patient. For no reason though, should you use whitening materials by yourselves without consulting the opinion of your dentist.
With the whitening systems applied at the dental office, the teeth get the desirable white color instantly. During a session of 45-75 minutes an 8 shades whiter color can be achieved. The result is apparent right after the end of the procedure, providing satisfaction and joy to the patient.
When the whitening procedure is performed at home, always according to the dentist’s instructions, the result can be equally satisfying and visible in 2-3 weeks. This depends on the concentration of the whitening factor and the duration the patient chooses to wear the whitening trays.
The duration of the whitening effect lasts approximately two years. There are studies that prove the duration of the whitening effect even five years later. However, the duration of the whitening effect depends, largely, on oral hygiene, smoking, diet and the whitening method used.
To preserve the white color, teeth whitening at the dental office may be necessary to be repeated every two years. Alternatively, one can reapply the whitening gel on the whitening tray at home in shorter intervals.
There are many factors that cause discoloration and stains on the teeth. The most important are:
- coffee, tea, red wine, cola type beverages
- foods that contain intense natural coloring materials
- tartar accumulation
- various medicine
- teeth trauma
- excessive doses of fluoride during the development of the teeth