Pearly white teeth! The Hollywood smile! There is no doubt a lot of people at some stage in their life have thought about whitening their teeth. But how does whitening actually work and is it safe?
What Is It?
Whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it is simple and can greatly improve how your teeth look. Whitening procedure lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discolouration.
Whitening is not a one-time procedure. Certain foods and beverages tend to stain teeth such as wine, coffee, tea and curry. Also, how well you clean your teeth will determine how quickly your teeth will discolour again. Therefore, whitening will need to be repeated from time to time if you want to maintain the brighter colour.
What It’s Used For?
The outer layer of a tooth is called the enamel. The colour of natural teeth is created by the reflection and scattering of light off the enamel, combined with the colour of the dentin under it. Your genes affect the thickness and smoothness of the enamel. Thinner enamel allows more of the colour of the dentine to show through. Having smoother or rougher enamel also affects the reflection of light and therefore the colour.
Types of staining
- Every day, a thin coating (pellicle) forms on the enamel and picks up stains. Tooth enamel also contains pores that can hold stains. As time goes these stains will become more prominent and become more difficult to remove.
- On occasion, injury to a tooth may also cause the nerve that supplies the tooth to die. This will result in discolouration of the tooth which often presents as dark or grey appearance.
Types of whitening
Whitening can be classified into internal and external
In situations where the staining is on the outer surface of the tooth then external whitening is indicated. These can be done professionally at a dentist with a stronger whitening solution or an over the counter milder whitening solution which can be done at home.
If the staining is inside the tooth due to injury which has led to the nerve dying, then internal whitening is required to alter the shade of the tooth. This can only be at the dentist as it requires drilling into the tooth and doing the whitening within the tooth.
Which whitening procedure is best suited for me?
What procedure will give you the best results will depend on the overall situation of your teeth and the goal you have set. By having a consultation with your dentist they will be able to assess your oral health and your suitability to have whitening procedure.