Brushing your teeth daily and flossing will help you keep a good oral hygiene, and keep your teeth bright and healthy. However, most people’s teeth will start to acquire a yellowish tone as they age. Since this coloring is not ideal aesthetically, you may be thinking about getting your tooth bleaching. If this is the case, here are a few things you should think about before having it done.
How does tooth bleaching work?
Teeth can go yellow for a number of reasons. Certain foods and drinks, such as coffee, tea or wine, have color pigments in them that attack the enamel of the tooth (the outer, white part of your teeth). Smoking tobacco can also result in darker teeth because it contains two chemicals that damage the teeth, tar and nicotine. Age is also a key factor, since teeth naturally go yellow as time passes as a result of the tooth’s outer shell becoming thinner with time. Plus, certain traumas and medications can also result in the dentin (the outer white shell of your teeth) to become thinner as well. Antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiation are medications that will make teeth darker after heavy usage.
Teeth bleaching is a very simple process where hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are used to bleach the stains present in teeth into smaller pieces, thus making your teeth look whiter and brighter since the yellowish tone is less concentrated. That being said, it is important to understand that tooth bleaching will only work on yellow teeth, but not on brown teeth, gray teeth or teeth where discoloration has happened because of medications or tooth injury. Moreover, teeth bleaching will not work on veneers, crowns, fillings or caps. Be aware of this before you try this procedure, so as to avoid disappointment.
Tooth bleaching types
The easiest and least aggressive way of bleaching teeth is using whitening toothpastes. This will remove stains from the surface of the teeth, but not change the color of the tooth artificially, since whitening toothpaste does not contain chemical or polishing agents.
For chemical bleaching, you can either choose to do it yourself or go to a dentist to have the procedure done. If you do it at home, you can get over the counter peroxide containing teeth whiteners. These are easy to apply but will bleach your teeth less than if you would do the procedure at the dentist’s office. The dentist, on the other hand, will use stronger chemicals and use a laser light to enhance the action of the whitening agent.
Possible side effects of Tooth bleaching
After having tooth bleaching, some people complain about feeling their teeth sensitivity has increased. This happens because the peroxide used in tooth bleaching products gets through the tooth’s enamel into the soft layer of dentin, and this irritates the nerve of the tooth. In most cases, the effect is only temporary; however, you should still wait until the effects are completely gone before you attempt to do another treatment.