Several techniques of teeth whitening in Kelowna have gained popularity in the last few years. Professional teeth whitening is the most common solution to discoloured or stained enamel of our teeth.
Although our teeth always remain white, the enamel of the teeth may change its colour over time. Due to illness or injuries, the enamel of our teeth may get stains. The colour of the enamel may also vary because of our sedentary lifestyle and eating habits.
According to a paper by The Canadian Dental Association, most people want a brighter smile and teeth whitening is the best option for improving their smiles. Also, in a similar survey by the American Association of Orthodontics, nearly 90 percent of people asked for getting their teeth whitened. You can also be like them, and you will not be alone in asking for it.
Once you make up your mind to get your teeth whitened, make it a point to consult your dentist and try to find out which method of teeth whitening is the most suitable for you. Be aware of the process, the side effects, and the factors related to your unique circumstances.
The most common reasons for discoloured teeth
Some of the following factors may be responsible for a visible change in your teeth’s colour.
- Use of tobacco products
Two chemicals present in all tobacco products are responsible for stains – Tar and Nicotine. While smoking, these chemicals settle on the enamel of your teeth. Tar is a dark-coloured chemical that contributes to tough stains associated with smoking.
Nicotine, on the other hand, is colourless, but it changes colour on reacting with oxygen. While smoking, this chemical reaction creates a yellowish substance that engulfs the enamel.
- Tea, coffee, and drinks
Overuse of tea and coffee primarily contributes to most of the stains. Moreover, red wine may also cause some discolouration. Chromogens, the colour pigments present in these drinks, stick to the outer surface, leading to a visible change in the teeth’s colour over time.
Apart from tobacco and drinks, certain medications like antihistamines or blood pressure medicines may also discolour our teeth as a side effect. Some antibiotics affect our teeth even during pregnancy, and the teeth may start to discolour in the teenage. Treatments like chemotherapy and neck radiation may also be responsible for the staining.
- Age factor
Over time, the enamel layer becomes thinner, exposing the softer layer below the enamel called dentin. Since dentin is yellow, it shows through the thinner enamel due to our age factor.
- Dental injuries
Due to some mouth injuries in the dental area, the teeth may change colour. This type of staining is primarily due to restricted blood flow to the root of the teeth. The tooth may not heal itself, and it may fall after some time or be discoloured.
Due to the complex nature of mouth injuries, we should always consult our dentist to examine the damage and suggest a suitable treatment according to its severity.
The Process of Teeth Whitening
It depends on whether you take the treatment at the dentist’s office or do it yourself at your home. The process is relatively simple. You may use one of the two bleaches available for this purpose, namely hydrogen peroxide or Carbamide peroxide.
Both these bleaches work to reduce the stains and hence the pigmentation of their colour. The teeth turn brighter on getting bleached as it directly reduces the tooth stains to a smaller proportion.
Does teeth whitening always work?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. It may not be effective on all types of staining or discolouration. We must check with our dentist if teeth whitening works in our case. It depends upon the kind of colour of the stain.
Teeth whitening may not be effective at all on teeth with a grey tone. Even brown teeth may not respond to the treatment. Bleaching is quite effective in yellow teeth, and it may fail in other types of stains as above. Moreover, whiteners will not work on dental appliances, including crowns, fillings, or dental caps.
Please note that teeth whitening attempts to clean the enamel of the teeth by bleaching. It means that it will not work if the discolouration is due to internal factors. The whiteners will not work on staining that is caused by medications, trauma, or ageing.
Choices available for whiter teeth
The available teeth whitening choices range from gentle to more robust treatments depending upon your unique situation and how severe the stains are. Before you start any treatment plan, ensure to consult your doctor as several options are available in both professional and in-home teeth whitening. Gentle options are cheaper, whereas intense treatments may be required to remove stubborn stains.
We can divide the range of choices into three broad categories.
- Whitening Toothpaste
It may take a few weeks to a few months to show visible results using a gentle whitening toothpaste. Since they work on cleaning the enamel’s surface, they are not quick to show results, as we can see in bleaches.
The option of using gentle toothpaste is ideal for sensitive teeth. They also do not have any side effects. Regular use of whitening toothpaste shows visible results without using any harsh chemicals.
- At-Home whitening routine
You can purchase dental kits from your dentist as an over-the-counter product. They may include dental trays, whitening strips, toothbrushes, lights, or rinses. These products are less gentle as they contain peroxide, which works below the surface. The stains on the enamel become lighter after usage of a few days or a few weeks, as per the condition.
You have another option of buying dental trays from a store. These trays are readily available in standard sizes. However, you can get a customized tray from your dentist for a perfect fit and, consequently, uniform results.
You can apply the required amount of whitening gel on these trays and wear them on your upper and lower teeth. As per the dentist’s instructions, wear them for short periods or overnight. If you ignore the instructions and wear them too long or otherwise, the peroxide may irritate your teeth, or you may not get the desired results.
- Professional teeth whitening at Kettle Valley Family Dental
If you need faster results, you should opt for a professional teeth whitening treatment at the dentist’s office. This treatment is intense because it uses a comparatively more quantity of peroxide to bleach the enamel. It helps in changing the colour much faster.
You can expect the results within one to two hours. Dentists also use laser lights along with peroxide for better results. They cover your gum tissues with a protective gel or some thin rubber sheets to shield them from the effects of peroxide.
Professional Vs. At-Home
Both techniques are quite different on many accounts. The choice depends on the kind of results you want to see and your comprehensive oral health state. The following are the key differences in terms of time, cost, and longevity.
The ratio of time spent whitening the teeth and the results achieved favour professional whitening. Here you get 7-8 shades of whiter teeth within 1-2 hours. That way, you are getting better results in lesser time.
In the case of at-home treatment, you may have to spend 1-2 hours every day for a few days or weeks. The results are also not that effective as you can get only 4-6 shades of whiter teeth. Eventually, you end up spending more time with comparatively less effective results.
There is a sizable difference between the pricing of at-home kits and the professional treatment at a dentist’s office. Kettle Valley Family Dental recommends calling our office for an estimate. The professional option gets better results in a quicker time frame.
Kettle Valley Family Dental also offers a combo with in-office whitening and custom whitening trays and take-home gel for touch-ups after office treatment.
- Longevity of results
Professional teeth whitening results get better longevity because the chemicals penetrate deeper into the teeth’ surface to remove the stains. The concentrated solution ensures a better outcome that lasts for extended periods.
A professional cleaning may be costlier, but it gets much better results in almost no time. The trade-off between time, cost, and the results seems to favour the professional option. The best part is that your teeth remain white for a more extended period with professional teeth whitening at the dentist’s office.
If you consider the time factor and longevity, the cost difference may not remain so much. On the contrary, it may be less cost-effective to get the same results with the at-home treatment.
Whatever your choice, depending upon your specific circumstances, you should always schedule an appointment with Kettle Valley Family Dental to understand which method is better for you. The dentist will always consider relevant factors like oral health and the severity of stains to suggest the best way to whiten your teeth.