Teeth Whitening is short-timed procedure either as an in-office treatment by a dentist or by using at-home teeth whitening methods. A protective gel is applied for gingival protection and then the bleaching agent - hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide - is spread all over the teeth. After some time it is rinsed off and the process is repeated 3-4 times.
1. Teeth staining – types and causes
Teeth whitening is required mostly when teeth do not remain in their original color. Before heading towards the teeth whitening facts and procedures, first, you must be knowing the reasons for teeth discoloration or teeth staining.
Several reasons result in teeth staining, either intrinsic or extrinsic staining. Teeth staining also has several other types other than these two above mentioned types.
1. Intrinsic staining
It occurs below the teeth surface that is the hard layer known as dentin. Teeth staining agents just penetrate the teeth enamel and result in this type of stain.
Excessive fluoride use
Medication side effects – such as, tetracyclines are the antibiotics that are associated with teeth discoloration especially in younger children.
Antipsychotics, medication to treat hypertension, chemotherapeutic agents are also associated with both intrinsic and extrinsic staining.
Trauma to oral cavity – bleeding and teeth root damage
Aging – that results in natural teeth discoloration
Intrinsic teeth staining sometimes doesn’t get treated with bleaching and requires porcelain veneers.
It sometimes requires the dental implants to replace the damaged teeth roots.
What are veneers and how much do veneers cost can be studied in detail by clicking the article.
2. Extrinsic staining
In this type of staining, the stain doesn’t penetrate the dentine and just remains on the outer surface of teeth known as enamel.
Consumption of caffeine-containing beverages – coffee, wine, cola drinks
Aging – that results in damage of enamel
Excessive tobacco use – nicotine causes discoloration of enamel
Lack of oral care
It can be removed by teeth whitening procedures in one or two visits to the dentist or by using at-home methods.
Intrinsic and extrinsic teeth staining is caused by several different reasons. Aging, medication, caffeine-containing beverages, and tobacco smoking can be important reasons. Extrinsic stain affects the enamel and intrinsic stain affects the dentin.
2. Teeth whitening procedures
There are a lot of teeth whitening procedures to get the low cost, safe, and short-timed whitening of teeth. It can be done by a professional dentist in an in-office procedure and at home by using teeth whitening kits from the medical store.
2.1. Teeth whitening agents
There are several teeth whitening agents either incorporated in the toothpaste or toothpaste tablets. Some of them have been listed below:
Carbamide peroxide or urea peroxide
Normally, in the in-office procedures by a teeth whitening dentist or at-home by yourself, H2O2 and carbamide peroxide are preferred agents respectively.
Hydrogen peroxide – 10-40%
Normally, in an in-office treatment, the bleaching agent is hydrogen peroxide in a 10-40 percent concentration. While hydrogen peroxide in high concentration is not recommended to use at home.
For at-home teeth whitening, your dentist may recommend you a teeth whitening kit that contains carbamide peroxide as the bleaching agent.
Carbamide peroxide is relatively milder than H2O2, so there are fewer chances that your gums or oral cavity will be affected.
Carbamide peroxide breaks down in hydrogen peroxide and performs the same action.
2.2. Steps of in-office teeth whitening
Teeth whitening procedure – more precisely known as chairside bleaching gets completed in a maximum of one hour at the dental clinic. There are the following steps that a teeth whitening dentist may perform to complete the treatment:
1. Preparing for the treatment
First of all, when you reach the dentist’s office and take the seat in relax mode, a lip retractor is inserted in your mouth.
It helps to keep your lip apart to avoid any discomfort during the treatment.
2. Gingival protection
Second most important step in teeth whitening treatment is covering the gums properly. This process is known as Gingival protection.
Gum protecting gel or sometimes a rubber sheath is applied by a cotton tip stick over the gums.
Covering gel is hardened after the application by using the high voltage light to avoid any adverse reactions. Sometimes teeth are also protected by the application of sensitivity reducing compounds.
Cover the gums properly as bleaching agents may cause redness, irritation, and inflammation. Sometimes it may result in bleeding from the gums.
3. Application of bleaching agent
Next step that your teeth whitening dentist will do is the application of bleaching or teeth whitening agent all over the teeth.
Its H2O2 in mild to moderate concentrations – ranging from 10 to 40 % - that is used as a whitening agent.
Carbamide peroxide is used in milder quantities These agents penetrate the hard tissues of teeth to remove the intrinsic and extrinsic staining.
4. How do whitening agents work?
Hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide breaks the teeth stains into smaller pieces by the oxidation reactions that results in the lightening of teeth color.
Teeth whitening gel containing H2O2 or carbamide peroxide is then rinsed off and a fresh coat is applied. The same procedure is repeated until the desired results are obtained.
This process may last from half to full hour depending upon the stains that are needed to be removed.
5. Keep in mind
While doing the teeth whitening procedure at home, properly cover the gums to avoid any reaction.
If the bleaching agent starts irritating the gums, instantly stop the procedure and rinse the mouth.
Don’t go for this procedure if you have large fillings and caps in your teeth as it may give your teeth the different colors – as it will not bleach the fillings and caps.
Don’t wait for your teeth’ color to turn brown, as the bleaching procedure doesn’t work well for brown teeth.
Teeth discoloration that results as a side effect of tetracycline – an antibiotic – may not be treated by teeth whitening procedure.
Overusing the teeth whiteners may result in damage to tooth enamel.
Pro Tip 1
Vitamin E oil and Vaseline can be used as gum protecting agents while teeth whitening at home.
2.3. Other methods
There are several other methods for teeth whitening than to go for a teeth whitening dentist. Some of them have been listed below:
1. Baking soda and Hydrogen peroxide
Using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for brushing can prevent teeth discoloration. Baking soda is also present in several toothpaste formulas because of its following benefits:
- It has whitening properties
- Provides alkalinity in the mouth that prevents bacterial growth
- Helps to remove the plaque when present in the toothpaste
While hydrogen peroxide is also rich in benefits regarding the whitening of teeth. It’s better to use toothpaste with 1% hydrogen peroxide. Some of the benefits of H2O2 have been given as:
- Anti-bacterial and disinfecting agent
- Natural bleaching agent
- Has penetrating power to remove intrinsic stains
- Can be used as a mouth wash
Pro tip 2
Take 2 tsp of hydrogen peroxide and one tsp of baking soda. Mix well to make a paste. Brush teeth with this paste and it will give you the benefits of both.
2. Fresh fruits and vegetables intake
A keto diet plan that is rich in fruits and vegetables is the best way to prevent the visit to a teeth whitening dentist.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in fibers and vitamins, especially strawberries and pineapple are reported as teeth whitening agents.
Raw vegetables and fruits can provide you with whiter teeth but they are not a replacement for brushing.
Keep brushing your teeth with the paste containing fluoride, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide.
Pro tip 3
Take one fresh strawberry and mix it with one tsp baking soda. Make a paste and use it to brush the teeth when you are run short of toothpaste. The malic acid in strawberry and the baking soda will give you a combined effect to get the whiter teeth.
3. Orange and lemon peel
Fruits have multiple benefits. Citrus fruits especially have stain-removing properties. Eat the oranges and used the lemons but save their peels.
Place them in sunlight or dry in the oven. Make powder and use it by mixing it in normal toothpaste or alone.
Fresh orange and lemon peels can also be rubbed on the teeth to get the shiny white teeth.
4. Oil pulling method
A traditional method used to get the white teeth is the oil pulling method. However, this method is not medically proven.
Coconut oil is used in the oil pulling method because of its increased absorption. It also inhibits bacterial growth and prevents inflammation.
How to apply
Take 1 tsp of coconut oil. Move it in the mouth by swishing for about 10 to 20 minutes. It not only kills harmful bacteria but also reduces gum inflammation.
In-office treatment requires gum protection by using a gel and then a bleaching agent is applied. At-home kits are also available. Oil pulling, orange peel, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide methods can be used as other teeth whitening procedures.
3. Teeth whitening cost
A good smile is the wish of everyone. However, the cost of a teeth whitening procedure is also an important consideration. Home procedures and in-office treatment have a slight difference in cost.
At-home teeth whitening custom tray may cost less than $500 depending upon the products that it contains.
However, OTC teeth whitening strips, gels, toothpaste, and kits are available at relatively lower prices.
Cost of in-office teeth whitening can be variable depending upon the dentist and the level of teeth discoloration.
It can range between $500 to $1000. However, in-office teeth whitening has several benefits as it has been done by a professional dentist.
4. Teeth whitening gel
Teeth whitening gels are used as teeth whitening gel at home or in-office procedures. The hydrogen peroxide gel is normally used by dentists for teeth whitening treatment.
How do they work?
These gels have H2O2 or carbamide peroxide along with several other ingredients. They can be either quick-acting or slow-acting depending upon the concentration of peroxides present in them.
Tips to use
- Always brush before application
- Do not swallow the gel
- Use vitamin E or some other gum protecting agent
- Use for several hours according to the recommendation of the dentist.
- After the proper time, rinse the mouth with water and remove the left-over gel with a brush or clean cloth.
Side effects of gels
There are two possible side effects of teeth whitening gels:
- Irritation of gums or tissues of the oral cavity if not properly protected
- Teeth sensitivity can happen in some cases although it’s temporary
Cost of teeth whitening gels
Although there are a lot of gels available with variable prices, however, average price ranges from $5 to $25.
Best teeth whitening gels
There are the names of the five best at-home teeth whitening gels:
- Opalescence PF 35% whitening gel
- Opalescence Go 15%
- Lumibrite 32%
- Zoom nite white 22% whitening gel
- Crest 3D Whitestrips
5. Teeth whitening strips
Teeth whitening strips are used daily. One strip is used for 30 minutes and it helps to remove both the intrinsic and extrinsic stains.
Normally, there is hydrogen peroxide in the teeth whitening strips. There are the following OTC kits:
- SNOW® At-Home teeth whitening All-in-One Kit
- Plus white 5 Minute Dental Whitening Kit
- AuraGlow teeth whitening Kit
- Walgreens Xtreme whitening wraps
- Dr. Collins all white 22 percent bleaching system
Cost of teeth whitening strips ranges from $10 to $150 depending upon the number of strips and quality of the product.
6. Teeth whitening kits
There are several teeth whitening kits available for at-home use. Prices vary according to the company and the quality of the strip.
Teeth whitening kit prices can be variable depending upon at-home or in-office kit. The price of teeth whitening kits can range from $50 to $600.
Frequently asked questions
There are a lot of questions relevant to teeth whitening and its effects. Some of these questions have been answered precisely:
1. Is it good to do teeth whitening?
Before going to professional treatment of teeth whitening, try to remove teeth stains at home. Eat healthy food such as fresh vegetables and fruits, brush your teeth with toothpaste containing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
If all the methods are failed, then you must visit the dentist for having a teeth whitening treatment. Your dentist will also give you a teeth whitening kit to use at home.
2. Why do my teeth look more yellow after whitening?
With time enamel – that is the outermost layer of teeth – starts becoming thinner exposing the inner hard layer known as dentin.
When it gets thinner, our teeth turn yellow. If the color of growing teeth is white the older parts are yellow, then obviously you are losing your teeth enamel.
3. Can yellow teeth become white again?
More you go away from fresh vegetables, fruits, and healthy food, leaning towards caffeine-containing beverages, fried food, and an unhealthy diet, the more your teeth get yellow.
However, it can be reversed by getting dental treatments and there are a lot of ways to whiten the teeth including bleaching.
Teeth Whitening can be obtained by getting in-office teeth whitening treatment or by using at-home teeth whitening kits.
Teeth staining can be intrinsic and extrinsic depending upon the causes. Extrinsic staining targets teeth enamel and intrinsic staining stains the dentin.
Gingival protection is obtained by a gum protecting gel and then hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide is applied. After some time it is rinsed off and the process is repeated for 3-4 times.
Teeth whitening gels, strips, and kits are available in various price ranges. At-home and in-office whitening treatments may cost less than $500 and up to $1000 respectively.