Teeth Whitening: Things You Need to Know

Nobody likes having stained and yellow teeth. We become especially interested in teeth whitening when we watch television and see all those celebrities with sparkling white smiles. We know that it is not natural to have such white teeth, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting them. That is when we start thinking about teeth whitening, which is now made available to almost all of us, at almost every dental office. But there are some things you need to know about this process and what happens after teeth whitening before you decide to take this step.

How does it work? Most dentists who perform teeth whitening use chemistry based on peroxide compounds which can whiten your teeth through an oxidation process. These compounds penetrate the teeth and oxidize the organic compounds inside the enamel’s matrix that are in charge of producing color, and then a reduction of discoloration happens which results in whiter teeth.

This sounds great, doesn’t it? But there are some things to worry about before going to your dentist and making your teeth white.

Something that happens very often after the process of teeth whitening is hypersensitivity. This discomfort can last for a long time and it can be caused by the tools used in the process of whitening, as well as by whitening toothpastes. These toothpastes, according to Dr. Melissa Naidyhorski, a dentist in Minnesota, can also lead to gum recession.

Another possible side effect is vomiting, and it happens in case you swallow some of the whitening gel when whitening your teeth by yourself with kits you bought at the pharmacy.

As many things in life, teeth whitening will not bring the wanted results right away, so don’t be disappointed if you have to repeat the process several times. Moreover, when you achieve the color you want, you will have those results for up to 3 years and then you will have to repeat the treatment. On the upside, those treatments will cost you less and take up less time. Of course, your teeth will not stay white for so long if you don’t take care of your hygiene appropriately – this means no smoking and drinking lots of red wine, because if you do those things all the money and time you invested in teeth whitening will be in vain. Dr Naidyhorsky also suggests staying away from all dark foods and drinks that stain teeth (like coffee and sodas) at least two days after completing the whitening process, and maintaining the whiteness by brushing your teeth twice a day.

Not everyone should whiten their teeth. For example, pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should avoid this process because the chemicals used might not be safe for them. Moreover, people who are allergic to peroxide, or have sensitive gums or teeth are not good candidates for this procedure either.  If you have cavities, there is a good chance that the whitening process will not give the wanted results, and besides that such teeth may become more sensitive after the procedure. Whitening is also not effective for teeth that are very darkly stained or those that underwent many restorations and are damaged.

The results vary from person to person. If you are amazed with the results that your friends achieved with teeth whitening, and are rushing to your dentist wanting the same thing, don’t get your hopes up too soon. The results greatly depend on the quality of your teeth and how well you take care of them. If your teeth are damaged, the results won’t be very good. However, if you take care of your oral hygiene, brush your teeth appropriately and regularly and your teeth are already white, the treatment will have good results and your teeth will be sparkling like pearls.

You need to be careful not to overdo it. Having white and bright teeth is nice, and there is no person in this world who would disagree, but having teeth that are too white can be tacky. Furthermore, repeating the whitening procedure too many times can damage your teeth permanently and beyond repair, so be careful not to get sucked in the world of perfection, because wanting to be perfect can actually lead you in a completely different direction.