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Maintaining a bright white smile may not always be easy for many, but there are safe ways to whiten teeth. Although whitening is not inherently bad, those who want a teeth whitening treatment should have a full oral examination before receiving it. This is because only dental professionals can provide a diagnosis of the correct cause of tooth discoloration. 

Besides, there are two key reasons why pearly white teeth may have yellowed: intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) staining.

  • Extrinsic stains are caused by environmental things that come into contact with teeth. Examples are foods and drinks containing tannins (such as red wine), beer, coffee, and tea. In addition, colas and cigarette smoke also cause extrinsic stains to occur.
  • Intrinsic stains, on the other hand, occur inside the tooth and can be seen on the outside. Certain types of medications or illnesses can cause this type of staining. These include aging, trauma to the tooth, infection, and overexposure to fluoride when teeth develop in childhood, which can also cause intrinsic staining.

How Do Teeth Whitening Products Work?

There are teeth-whitening products sold over the counter that works in at least one of two ways: brush away stains using physical force or bleach stains using the same chemicals used for in-office whitening treatments.

  • Physical abrasion. The products that have any grittiness- whitening kinds of toothpaste, regular toothpaste, or just plain baking soda, will act as an abrasive and physically file away stains on the surfaces of the teeth. 
  • Chemical bleaching. Examples of the product include whitening strips, gel-filled mouth trays, and rinses that work by putting the teeth in contact with chemical bleaching agents like carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. 

What Are The Different Teeth Whitening Products?

Looking for the right product to whiten the teeth has lots to consider. Below are the different types of whitening products/compositions available:

Peroxide (Contains Bleaching Agents)

In many bleaching products, carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea, with hydrogen peroxide being the active bleaching agent. That said, a bleaching product containing 10 percent carbamide peroxide yields approximately 3.5 percent hydrogen peroxide. 

Dentist-Dispensed And OTC Home-Use Products

The dentist-dispensed and OTC home-use tooth whitening bleaches offer products that currently bear the ADA Seal and contain 10 percent carbamide peroxide. In spite of that, participation in the program is not limited to products of this concentration or type of bleach. Many whitening product options are currently available to consumers from the dentist and retail outlets, that includes gels placed in trays that cover the teeth, paint-on materials, bleaching strips, and others. 

On the other hand, a water-based carbamide peroxide solution breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea, with the former being the active bleaching agent. Additionally, other ingredients of peroxide-containing tooth whiteners may include glycerin, carbopol, sodium hydroxide, and flavoring agents.

Professionally Applied Bleaching Products

Dentists use many professionally applied tooth-bleaching products in the office. These products use hydrogen peroxide, ranging from 25 percent to 40 percent. They are sometimes used with a light or laser, which the companies state to activate or speed up the whitening process. 

Fortunately, most studies have reported no additional long-term benefit with light-activated systems. Before applying professional products, gum tissues are protected by isolation with a rubber dam or by applying a gel. Compared to home-use products that are intended for use over a two-to-four-week period, the in-office professional treatment is typically completed in about 1 hour. 

White Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste (dentifrices) in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program contains chemical agents or polishing designed to improve tooth appearance by removing stains on the surface. The process involves gentle polishing, chemical chelation, or other non-bleaching actions. In fact, several whitening kinds of toothpaste that are available OTC have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

How Often Should You Use Teeth Whitening Products?

Most importantly, it is vital to follow the directions provided for use. In fact, there are some white strips that should only be used twice a year, while others are gentle enough to use monthly. If the teeth become sensitive or gums get irritated, it is advised to stop using the whitening product, at least temporarily.

Are There Side Effects In Using Teeth Whitening Products?

Generally, side effects from teeth whitening products are rare as long as products are applied correctly and without overusing them. Overuse of teeth whiteners might cause some mild side effects.

  • gum irritation
  • tooth sensitivity
  • Changes in tooth enamel, such as increased roughness or softness
  • erosion of dental restorations, such as fillings
  • damage to braces

How To Measure The Teeth Whitening Efficacy? 

For those professionally supervised whitening performed in the office, it uses highly concentrated materials (up to 40% hydrogen peroxide) and is frequently combined with light-activating sources to speed up the process. On the other hand, there are professionally dispensed, patient-applied home whitening kits that come with custom-fabricated trays and various carbamide peroxide gels (from 7.0% to 22%).

In fact, current research on the efficacy of in-office whitening vs. the above-mentioned home whitening has shown that both techniques produce satisfactory whitening outcomes without significant adverse effects regarding tooth and gingival sensitivity. Nonetheless, the efficacy of both types can be accomplished with different tools. To demonstrate the whitening product’s efficacy and progress, one best way is to monitor by comparing the color difference of the untreated lower arch vs. treated upper. 

How To Prolong The Result Of Teeth Whitening?

Although it’s not a permanent fix, the result of teeth whitening can be maintained for at least 1 to 3 years and as long as ten years with no further treatment. In fact, even with some color rebound, the shade will not revert to the original color. However, as the color lightens throughout the whitening treatment, the patient’s interest in oral hygiene care should also improve. 

More so, proper maintenance methods should always be discussed at the end of treatment. Recommendations include:

  • Effective self-care
  • Proper toothbrushing and flossing
  • A healthy diet that avoids staining foods and beverages
  • Regular touch-ups

The Bottom Line

A tooth whitening is best performed professionally with a proper examination and diagnosis, using appropriate materials for the patient and situation. CaTara Med Spa provides Zoom Teeth Whitening with a special lamp to speed up the teeth’s bleaching process, making it quick yet effective, resulting in cleaner and whiter teeth with unchanged structure. Furthermore, using Zoom Advanced Power Chairside Lamp activates the 25 percent hydrogen peroxide whitening and breaks it down, allowing oxygen to enter the teeth’ enamel and dentin, bleaching the stains found in the teeth.

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