Brushing and flossing are your weapons against teeth discolouration. However, if you feel like your smile lacks some sparkle or is more yellow than it used to be, you are not alone. Most people when asked what they would like to improve more about their smile answered they would love to have whiter teeth!
Over the past two decades, teeth whitening has become one of the most popular aesthetic dental treatments.
In the teeth whitening market nowadays you can find four different ways to whiten your teeth:
- Professionally applied whitening (in the dental office);
- Dentist-prescribed whitening (patient home-use);
- Consumer purchased/over-the-counter (OTC) (applied by patients);
- Other non-dental options.
Furthermore, dentist-prescribed whitening materials are sometimes used at home after dental office whitening to maintain or improve whitening results.
Why Did My Teeth Change Colour In The First Place?
First, let's mention all the possible reasons why your teeth might change colour.
Foods and Drinks
Coffee, tea and red wine are some major staining suspects. What do they have in common? Intense colour pigments that attach to the outer surface of your tooth (enamel).
Two chemicals found in tobacco create stains: Tar and nicotine.
Below the hard, white outer surface of your teeth (enamel) is a softer area called dentin. Over the years, the outer enamel layer gets thinner, making yellowish dentin more visible.
If you’ve been hit in the mouth, your tooth may change colour because it reacts to an injury by laying down more dentin, which is a darker layer under the enamel.
Teeth can also change colour due to medication, but they get a more gray tint rather than yellow. Tooth darkening can be a side effect of certain prescription drugs such as antihistamines, antipsychotics, and high blood pressure tablets. Young children who are exposed to antibiotics like tetracycline may notice discolouration of their adult teeth later in life. Chemotherapy and head and neck radiotherapy can also darken teeth.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Concerns regarding the safety of all whitening treatments and products have existed for a long time but were amplified since the introduction of methods for bleaching at-home.
The most broadly known active ingredient in whitening materials is the peroxide, which is the compound that raises most concerns. However, results from numerous studies show that, when used correctly, peroxide-based tooth whitening is safe and effective.
The side effects that are most commonly seen are tooth sensitivity and gingival irritation, which are usually mild to moderate and transient. So far there is no evidence of significant health risks associated with tooth whitening.
Potential adverse effects can occur with the inappropriate application, abuse, or the use of inappropriate whitening products.
Is Teeth Whitening Permanent?
The answer unfortunately is no. Tooth whitening will not permanently whiten and brighten your teeth, unless it is properly maintained. The correct aftercare instructions by the dentist and the patient’s commitment and compliance using the top up prescription is the secret that leads to a brilliant smile for several years in the future.
How Long Do The Results Last?
The longevity of your bright new smile will depend on the reduction of the staining substances, foods and drinks that take away your hard earned results. The dentist should give a list of all the products that cause tooth darkening and the patient should only consume these in moderation, if not at all.
What Can I Do To Maintain A White Smile After Whitening?
The way you take care of your teeth after your dental whitening treatment will dramatically extend or diminish the longevity of your white smile. Some professional whitening kits that you get from your dentist’s office will come with an aftercare packet that you can use to enhance your smile between whitening treatments. Complying with your top prescription and using whitening gel in regular intervals as prescribed by your dentist, will make your vibrant smile a long-lasting one.
You should also be conscious of your eating and hygiene habits since they could also impact the longevity of your results. Drink water regularly to keep your mouth flushed, and practice proper oral hygiene to prevent your teeth from yellowing.
Note that your teeth will be particularly sensitive to stains for the first two days after teeth whitening so be extra careful!
For further questions e-mail us and we will get back to you as soon as possible!
Athina Tsiorva - You Smile Dental Care