Teeth Whitening

Teeth WhiteningThe colour of teeth changes because of external and internal factors. Food, medication, and tobacco have a chemical effect on dental plaque and produce colorants that are transferred deeper into the enamel through cracks. Aging causes the enamel to become thinner and its structure changes and that is what changes the optical properties of the enamel. This leads to discoloration caused by aging over the years.

Tetracycline treatment during the development of teeth, abundance of fluorine and some general diseases, such as porphyria and erythroblastosis fetalis, can lead to the so-called internal discoloration of teeth. The discoloration of a single tooth can be caused by trauma to the tooth, where the change in colour is due to bleeding.

Teeth whitening is a part of cosmetic health care: whitening healthy teeth makes a person feel younger, healthier, and more attractive. Chemical whitening is a simple and cheap procedure compared to getting dental veneers or crowns.

Substances for Whitening
Whitening dates back more than 100 years. Hydrogen peroxide was first used in 1884 and even today, it is still the active ingredient in different concentrations (3% to 38%) and combinations. The molecule of hydrogen peroxide is small and can easily pass through enamel and dentine. Gels that can be used for whitening at home contain 10–20% of carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea. Ten percent of carbamide peroxide results in about 3% hydrogen peroxide.

Tray Whitening for Home Use
Whitening at home is suitable for lightly discoloured teeth, such as discoloration caused by aging.
In order to do the whitening at home, you first need to visit a dentist’s office, where the teeth are cleaned of plaque, the colour of the teeth is determined for assessing the results of the whitening, and you will be given guidelines for the whitening procedure as well as a package of whitening trays. The whitening effect duration varies from person to person and depends, among other things, on diet. Re-whitening is usually needed after 0.5 to 2 years.

Most common, although not very frequent, side effects include sensitivity to cold and irritation of the gums. Furthermore, there might be some tingling sensations of the tongue and throat. All side effects will disappear a few days after using the tray.

Using whitening agents is not recommended for smokers (for home use) because the acidic substances might enhance the carcinogenicity of some of the by-products that form during smoking. Whitening is not usually recommended to pregnant or nursing women.

Nowadays all teeth whitening methods are based on one principle. The whitening effect comes from a whitening gel, which is usually hydrogen peroxide with several additional components. According to research, additional factors, such as light (diode/halogen lamps, lasers, so-called plasma light, etc.), do not have a significant effect on the outcome, but manufacturers usually add these to start and/or speed up the whitening process, and they tend to make the process complicated and/or expensive. The light generates heat and an increase in temperature may cause more harm than good to the nerve of the tooth. The drying of the tooth caused by the light might temporarily give a more prominent effect, but this disappears after some time. Chemically activated whitening gel is safe, equally effective, and generally the cheapest way to whiten teeth.

Lille Hambaravi uses the whitening products of one the leading and most respected companies in the field: Ultradent.