Why do we wish to have white teeth?
In most movies, on the runway, in magazines, adverts, on beauty queens, politicians, actors and even in business life white teeth are crucial of importance. No wonder, as white, neat teeth meant well-being, high standard, cleanliness and health to people.
Today dentists can easily (and for an affordable price) make good results. Moreover, it is frequent that we choose the beauty industry or homemade method instead of dentists. It is important to be careful with these methods.
Looking for a solution is not a modern thing. Did you know that people in the ancient times were already searching for the secret of perfect, white teeth?
White teeth were very important in ancient Egypt as they were the symbol of well-being and wealth. Back then there were several – they may seem unbelievable today - solutions for teeth whitening. Some people used the ammonia in their urine while others tried the combination of ground pumice, soda and ash. These materials were effective tooth whiteners, however, they damaged the enamel of the teeth making teeth decay abound.
What makes the colour of the teeth?
All people have natural teeth colour which is primarily set by the teeth material (the so-called dentin) inside. Different type of drinks, smoking and the health of our teeth can affect the colour.
What causes the problem?
Teeth discolouration is a natural process as time passes but at the same time it can be a sign of a disease or the development of tartar. Wine, coffee, tea, colourful and sweet drinks are the most common causes of teeth discolouration.
Among medicine the ones with iron and nitrate content; among disease teeth that were root canal treated (the turn grey), plaque and tartar are all responsible for the change in the colour. Without consuming these drinks, avoiding smoking and with the right dental care teeth colouration can be avoided.
Discolouration outside or inside
Not many of you may know that there are two ways for teeth discolouration: one way is the plaque and tartar on the surface of the teeth and the other is the change in the inside (dentin). While the discoloration on the surface can be eliminated by dental care and tartar removal, discolouration on the inside is thoughtful. The latter includes root canal treated teeth that tend to have grey shade.
Everyone has a guess
In the 21st century we love homemade (DIY - Do It Yourself) solutions. No wonder because who would not like to solve the same problem for less money? The same goes to teeth whitening.
We introduce the most common teeth whitening tricks:
Teeth whitener toothpaste
The most plausible solution for teeth whitening at home is choosing toothpaste with “tooth whitener” effect. Today there are many kinds of toothpaste on the market – cheaper and more expensive - with this effect. As we have already mentioned in an other blog, these toothpaste slow down the development process of tartar and they have only a little whitener effect. The base is that the atrium – and urea bicarbonate help release active oxygen and that makes the yellow layer whiter but there will not be any drastic change.
The ancient father of homemade methods is using baking soda. The expression “the secret method of the grandparents” pops into our minds about this. No wonder that it is very popular among the homemade whitening solutions as it is cheap and easy to obtain. Good news is that it really removes plaque and makes our teeth shinier and whiter, however, using it too often or in the long run is not advised as – similarly to the ancient Egyptian methods – it largely damages the enamel of the tooth. Damaged enamel leads to tooth decay and other dental problems so having whiter teeth for a few days is not worth the risk.
Who would not like mouth-watering, sweet-scented, snapping strawberries? Many people would not even think that it is one of the best at teeth whitening at home. Why? Strawberry contains malic acid which can easily remove the plaque on the teeth and it also whitens it immediately.
After using this method it is very important not to brush teeth for 20-30 minutes (rinse with clean water instead) as the acid in the strawberry makes the enamel weaker the pH scale acidic. The spittle can neutralize the pH scale but it needs this period of time. If we brush teeth before the time is up, we do more harm to the enamel of the tooth than without tooth brushing.
Be careful with fruits! Citrus are recommended for teeth whitening because of their acidic effect (eg. lemon, orange), however, dentist do not recommend using them at all. They contain citric acid that makes the enamel of the teeth weaker and it also takes calcium out of the tooth causing damage. Not mentioning fruit-sugar that causes acidic pH scale and tooth decay.
We should visit a dentist
It is obvious now that homemade solutions have a very negative effect: damaging the enamel of the teeth, putting the health of our teeth at risk. We should ask for our dentists’ advice in this matter too.
How is the treatment carried out?
It is obvious now that instead of homemade methods we should visit a dental expert when it comes to teeth whitening. Let’s see what we can expect in the dental chair.
The dental expert examined the teeth and looks for the heart of the problem. If it is “only” the plaque and tartar that cause the discolouration, they should be removed – as it might already solve the problem.
If the problem is not solved by removing tartar and plaque the next step is the whitening process. Dentists use a special paste with carbamide peroxide and hydrogene peroxide content. These materials whiten the teeth with releasing oxygen without – as opposed to homemade methods - damaging the enamel or the inside structure (dentin) of the teeth.
Note that crowns, bridges and fillings cannot be whitened, ONLY the natural, living teeth. If we had tooth replacement before it should be changed after the whitening so that we can have a united white colour.
At home or sitting in a dental chair
There are two ways of having our teeth whitened in a professional way: at home or sitting in a dental chair. The latter of course does not mean that the dentist visits us at home or that we do not need to go to the dental office.
During the whitening process the dentist adds a layer of special whitener material which will then be under the light of a special lamp. As an effect of the light oxygen releases that whitens the teeth. The process takes 1-2 hours and only one occasion is needed.
The home version is that a splint that has been previously prepared (that fits our own teeth perfectly – so it has to be prepared beforehand by taking an impression) a special whitener material is put that we can use at home (preferably at night). We can attain the desired result but it is very important to obey the instructions of the dentist. With this method we can reach have the same result in 5-8 nights as in the dental office.
How long will the result last?
The result depends on the method of whitening and the precautions after the treatment. Tooth whitening in the dental office lasts for a little while longer (1,5-2 years) than whitening at home (1 year). The result is based on how successfully we can avoid the above mentioned food and drinks plus smoking.