Dental Care: All You Need To Know About Teeth Whitening

Dental Care: All You Need To Know About Teeth Whitening


New Delhi: Teeth whitening has gained significant popularity as a cosmetic dental procedure, offering individuals the opportunity to enhance their smile’s brightness and radiance. Understanding the science behind teeth whitening is crucial in comprehending how it works and what factors contribute to its efficacy. In addition to that, it is also important to know about certain myths pertaining to teeth whitening. 

In this regard, ABP Live sought the opinions of experts who let us know about the science behind teeth whitening and also busted some myths regarding it.

The Science Behind Teeth Whitening: Exploring The Mechanisms For A Radiant Smile

Teeth whitening is a scientifically driven procedure aimed at removing dental discolouration and enhancing the aesthetic appearance of smiles. It’s always advisable to consult with a dental professional to determine the cause of teeth discolouration and to identify the most appropriate bleaching method for your specific situation. They can assess your dental health, discuss your goals, and recommend the most suitable treatment option for you. But, before that, let’s know the causes of dental discolouration

Causes Of Dental Discolouration:

Dr. Nidhi Kohli Suri, who is a Senior Consultant of Dental Care at Max Multi Speciality Centre, Panchsheel Park said, “The natural colour of teeth varies among individuals due to several factors such as genetics, age, and lifestyle habits like smoking or consuming certain foods and beverages. Over time, the enamel can become stained or discoloured due to the accumulation of pigmented molecules from things like coffee, tea, wine, tobacco, and certain foods.
Intrinsic stains may result from factors such as ageing, trauma, medications, and excessive fluoride exposure. The nature and severity of the discolouration play a role in determining the most appropriate teeth-whitening method.”

“Teeth whitening products contain chemical agents that work to break down these stains and lighten the teeth’ colour. The most common bleaching agent used in teeth whitening is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These agents undergo chemical reactions, releasing oxygen molecules that penetrate the enamel and target the pigmented compounds within the teeth, breaking them down into smaller, less visible particles This process effectively reduces the discolouration, resulting in a whiter appearance,” she further went on to say.

Teeth Whitening Methods:

This further depends on the type of discolouration and is of two types: In-office treatments or At-home treatments.

Speaking about In-office treatments, Dr. Nidhi told that they often involve higher concentrations of bleaching agents and are sometimes combined with light or laser activation for accelerated results. On the other hand, At-home treatments typically employ lower concentrations of bleaching agents and are commonly applied using custom-fitted trays or whitening strips

She also spoke about teeth bleaching which again is of two types: intrinsic bleaching and extrinsic bleaching. These terms refer to the location of the discolouration and the method used to address it.

1. Extrinsic Bleaching: Extrinsic stains are discolourations that occur on the outer surface of the teeth enamel. These stains are often caused by external factors such as foods, beverages, tobacco, and poor oral hygiene. Extrinsic bleaching primarily targets these superficial stains.

Extrinsic bleaching methods typically involve the use of abrasive toothpaste, whitening toothpaste, or over-the-counter whitening products such as whitening strips. These products work by physically removing surface stains through abrasion or by incorporating mild chemical agents that help break down the stain molecules.

2. Intrinsic Bleaching: Intrinsic stains are discolourations that occur within the teeth structure, beneath the outer enamel layer, and into the dentine. Intrinsic stains can be caused by a variety of factors, including ageing, genetics, trauma, certain medications, and excessive fluoride exposure during teeth development.

Intrinsic bleaching focuses on lightening the colour of the teeth from within, targeting the deeper layers of the teeth’ structure. This type of bleaching typically requires stronger bleaching agents and is often performed through professional dental treatments.

Dr, Nidhi further went on to explain what In-office and At-home methods of intrinsic bleaching are:

She said, “In-office methods of intrinsic bleaching include the use of higher concentrations of whitening agents applied directly to the teeth. These gels are usually activated by a specialized light or laser device to accelerate the bleaching process. The procedure is typically performed by a dental professional and may require multiple sessions to achieve the desired results.”

Speaking of At-home methods of intrinsic bleaching, she said, “They involve the use of dentist-prescribed take-home whitening kits. These kits typically consist of custom-fitted trays that hold the bleaching gel against the teeth for a specified period. The bleaching gel used in these kits is generally of a lower concentration than the in-office treatments, allowing for gradual and controlled whitening over a longer period, usually a few weeks.”

“It’s worth noting that intrinsic stains may be more challenging to lighten compared to extrinsic stains. In some cases, intrinsic stains may not respond well to bleaching treatments and alternative cosmetic dental procedures such as dental veneers or crowns may be recommended to achieve the desired aesthetic outcome,” she further went on to explain.

Factors Influencing Teeth Whitening Efficacy:

Several factors can influence the efficacy of teeth whitening treatments. These include the concentration of the bleaching agent, the duration and frequency of treatment, the type and severity of dental discolouration, and individual variations in teeth structure and composition. It is crucial to consider these factors to achieve optimal results while minimizing potential risks, such as teeth sensitivity or gum irritation.

Things to Know About Teeth Whitening

Everyone wishes they had a smile that was whiter, even you. There are many options, but deciding which ones are the best for attaining your goals might be difficult. Here are 5 easy methods shared by Dr. Shveta Thareja – The founder of Artistree Dental and Cosmetics, to keep your teeth white:

  1. Maintain oral hygiene: Regular brushing and flossing help maintain your teeth white by removing oral bacteria and preventing plaque buildup. Use toothpaste to gently remove stains from your teeth, and floss to get rid of germs that lead to plaque. Additionally, regular dental cleanings may maintain the health and brilliance of your teeth.
  2. Oil Pulling: Oil pulling is a traditional remedy with Indian origins that aims to improve dental hygiene and detoxify the body. The process involves swishing oil around in your mouth to get rid of microorganisms that can cause plaque and make your teeth appear yellow. Coconut oil is a preferred option for oil pulling due to its pleasant flavour and many health benefits.
  3. Brush with Baking Soda or use Hydrogen Peroxide: Since baking soda has inherent whitening properties, it is frequently found in toothpaste. It helps to eliminate surface stains from teeth by acting as a mild abrasive. Additionally, baking soda creates an alkaline environment in your mouth that prevents bacteria growth. In addition to eliminating oral bacteria and assisting in teeth whitening, hydrogen peroxide is an organic bleaching agent. You might be able to whiten your teeth by using hydrogen peroxide in a paste or rinse. In reality, people have been using hydrogen peroxide to treat wounds for years since it has the ability to kill bacteria.
  4. Go for Stain free foods: Red wine, dark berries, soda, and coffee are known to stain teeth. Even if you shouldn’t completely avoid them, you should cut down on the time that they spend in contact with your teeth. Even a straw is acceptable.
  5. Professional Teeth Whitening: Dentists whiten teeth using a variety of professional techniques, including office bleach and direct and indirect veneers. These typically leave a lasting impression.

Common Myths About Teeth Whitening Treatment

Dr. Nirali Patel, who is an Implantologist, and Certified Digital Smile Designer, shared some common myths related to teeth whitening and debunked them

Myth 1: Teeth Whitening Harms Teeth Enamel

One of the most persistent myths surrounding teeth whitening is the belief that it can damage teeth enamel. Dr. Patel clarifies that professional teeth whitening procedures when performed correctly, do not harm the enamel. However, it is essential to seek guidance from a qualified dentist and avoid overusing store-bought whitening products, as they may contain abrasive ingredients that could potentially harm enamel over time. Additionally, Dr. Patel recommends opting for professional teeth whitening for safe and effective results.

Myth 2: Teeth Whitening Results Are Permanent

Contrary to popular belief, teeth whitening results are not permanent. Over time, teeth can become stained again due to factors like food and beverage consumption, smoking, and natural ageing. However, Dr. Patel emphasizes that maintaining good oral hygiene practices and avoiding excessive consumption of staining agents can help prolong the results. Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings can also help in preserving your bright smile.

Myth 3: DIY Whitening Remedies Are As Effective As Professional Treatments

The internet is flooded with DIY teeth whitening remedies, from baking soda to lemon juice, promising miraculous results. Dr. Patel warns against relying on such methods, as they can be ineffective and potentially harmful. Professional teeth whitening procedures, offered by experienced dentists, use safe and proven methods to deliver more significant and longer-lasting results. Dr. Patel recommends consulting a dental professional before attempting any whitening treatment.

Myth 4: Teeth Whitening Is Painful

Some individuals may fear that teeth whitening treatments can be painful or uncomfortable. Dr. Patel reassures that professional teeth whitening procedures are generally well-tolerated and cause minimal discomfort. Advanced techniques and products used in modern dentistry aim to reduce sensitivity, making the process more comfortable for patients. If sensitivity occurs, dentists can recommend special toothpaste or gels to alleviate the issue.

Myth 5: Everyone Can Undergo Teeth Whitening

While teeth whitening is a safe and effective procedure for most people, it may not be suitable for everyone. Dr. Patel points out that individuals with gum disease, tooth decay, or hypersensitivity issues may need to address these problems before considering teeth whitening. Moreover, pregnant women and individuals with certain medical conditions should consult their dentist before undergoing any whitening treatment.



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