Teeth whitening is the practice of using certain substances, such as hydrogen peroxide, to brighten the color of a patient's teeth. Professional teeth whitening treatments can help people enjoy better results than at-home kits for a whiter and brighter smile, and with fewer side effects as well. How long the treatment lasts depends on a…
Pros and Cons of Teeth Whitening
Various factors affect tooth color, including genetics, food and beverage choices, smoking, and medications. Stains can occur on the surface of the tooth or beneath the enamel. Surface stains are common, but stains can also occur due to changes within the tooth's material. Extrinsic stains are stains on the surface of the tooth, while intrinsic stains are below the surface.
Professional teeth whitening can remove stubborn stains and create a brilliant smile. Knowing the pros and cons of professional whitening can help patients make informed decisions about this popular dental treatment.
What are the pros of teeth whitening?
With professional whitening, dentists apply a gel containing up to 40% hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide onto the teeth before shining a heating lamp over them for about 20 minutes to break apart stubborn stains on underlying layers. This whitening method offers patients the following benefits.
Thorough and reliable whitening
Unlike at-home treatments, professionally-applied whitening agents address the underlying stains that topical solutions cannot reach. As a result, patients obtain significantly whiter teeth after a single treatment.
Whitening patients' teeth involves a simple procedure that a dentist can perform in one visit for immediate results. Whereas individuals must wait weeks to achieve short-term results from home whitening kits, those who opt for treatment at a dental office can see a noticeable improvement as soon as one hour following the application of the whitener. These results can also last many months.
Patients with discolored teeth often resist speaking or smiling to hide an unattractive mouth. Patients who opt for whitening procedures report improved self-esteem and the confidence to shine in any social or professional situation.
Typically, results from whitening procedures do not begin to fade until about six months after the process. However, whitening can last up to one year before additional touch-ups are necessary.
Improved oral health
The whitening formulas dentists apply to the teeth contain urea, which can neutralize the mouth's pH level, preventing bacteria and plaque from forming. Therefore, whitening contributes to healthy and beautiful teeth.
Fewer noticeable imperfections
People notice a set of stunning white teeth before they notice any other feature about them. When patients smile after tooth whitening, others may not notice any of the other imperfections in their mouth. For example, chips and cracks tend to not stand out as much with white teeth. After teeth whitening, some patients may not require other types of cosmetic work.
Custom treatment methods
Patients do not have to rely on one form of tooth whitening. Different stains may require different methods. For example, extrinsic stains may respond to a professional cleaning and whitening toothpaste. Intrinsic stains, on the other hand, may require bleaching. Age-related stains tend to have both types of stains because the dentin yellows over time, and the enamel becomes thinner. Professional, in-office whitening is ideal for age-related staining.
What are the cons of teeth whitening?
Although professional teeth whitening has numerous benefits, anyone who chooses this cosmetic procedure should understand its drawbacks. Discussing these with a knowledgeable dentist can help patients decide how to proceed.
Bleaching agents can cause slight demineralization of the teeth, exposing the dentinal tubules that connect to the roots' nerves and irritating them. As a result, teeth may feel sensitive during the days following the whitening procedure until the teeth remineralize.
Ineffective for some teeth
Artificial teeth and those treated with veneers, fillings, or bonding material will not respond to whitening efforts. Therefore, prosthetics added before whitening may require replacement to ensure a color match with newly-whitened teeth.
Teeth whitening procedures do not yield permanent results, and patients must schedule subsequent whitening sessions at least once annually. In addition, teeth remain vulnerable to all the factors that cause discoloration.
Professional whitening procedures yield fast results but can be costly over time compared with other cosmetic procedures. As a result, individuals must remember to refrain from enjoying certain staining foods and beverages to keep costs down.
Patients may struggle with stained teeth due to food, drinks, age, or biological factors. While there are various ways to stain your teeth, there are also various ways patients can whiten their teeth safely and effectively. A professional can determine the safest way to whiten a patient's teeth. Professional teeth whitening has many advantages, though patients should be aware of potential disadvantages. A knowledgeable dentist can determine patients' candidacy for this procedure.
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