Our daily habits often cause the color of our teeth to become darker, duller and yellowish. This can happen because of the coffee we drink, wine or tobacco smoke. But being born with a more or less white enamel also depends on our genetics, and sometimes the lottery is not up to us.
Tooth whitening is the order of the day, but what we don’t know one hundred percent is how to start with it. We see in Instagram how several influencers have their own little blue light bulb at home, we hear about whitening pastes that promise to whiten more than three shades at a laughing price, treatments for home, in clinic … But everything is too confusing and before getting down to work there are many doubts that must be resolved.
The first question is which treatments are the safest and most effective. It is common that after knowing how much a dental whitening treatment costs in a clinic, then we look for other alternatives to professional teeth whitening that in turn are more economical.
That’s why today we bring you 9 tips you should consider before getting a teeth whitening.
1- Which is the safest and most effective method?
According to the opinion of Dr. Nadia Sarmini, director of Clínica Bernabéu, “the fundamental thing is that behind a whitening is the figure of a professional dentist. There are two methods of whitening, in the clinic and at home. In the clinic, through the use of the technology of an LED light lamp directed at the patient’s teeth activates and enhances the bleach that has previously been applied on them. She also recommends doing it at home but always supervised by a dentist, and never with “home-made” bleaching (with remedies taken from the internet or kits of dubious origin).
Dr. Daniela Carranza, from the Professor Sada Institute says that the older the patient, the darker the tooth color and therefore the result is much more remarkable. She highlights several ways of whitening teeth.
- Oral cleaning with bicarbonate
Ultrasound is used here to remove tartar from the surfaces of the teeth. In addition, this type of cleaning also treats surface stains, often this step is omitted and is a big mistake. If the shade of the teeth is beautiful it may not be necessary to perform a whitening if not more continuous oral cleanings in consultation.
- In-Clinic Whitening
These are procedures under the strict supervision of the dentist. It is based on the application of the whitening gel directly on the tooth surface and its subsequent activation through LED light, halogen, laser or plasma. This procedure lasts 40 minutes, achieving very good results in just one session.
- Ambulatory whitening treatment
The dentist takes some molds of the patient’s teeth and makes a splint adapted to his mouth.
This splint should be filled by the patient with the whitening gel and applied for 2 hours daily or overnight for two to three weeks.
- The Oral-B strips
They are very comfortable and are used as a reinforcement of the whitening already carried out in the clinic, to enhance it or as a reminder a few months later if the tooth has lost all the white obtained.
- Ceramic veneers
They are “very thin sheets” of porcelain that are placed on the visible face of the tooth. First, a study of your smile and if necessary a mock up to determine what changes we need to turn your smile into a natural and aesthetic smile. Once the treatment has been decided, the visible face of the tooth will be shaped with very fine drills. The carving is always less aggressive than that of a crown.
2- Is it better to do it at home or in a clinic?
“The rhythm of life that we sometimes have does not allow us to be as constant as we should be and we alter our routine due to numerous unforeseen events. The results are very similar, but an in-clinic whitening allows us to obtain immediate results without the patients having that responsibility”, points out Dr. Nadia Sarmini, director of Clínica Bernabéu.
The important thing for this is, first, to be guided by a professional. If we buy products at random without knowing the state of our mouth, what ingredients have what we are counting, etc.. We may have a problem, either because we make a bad use of what we have acquired, this may be of poor quality or we may burn our gums for applying it without knowing.
3- What do you have to have to make it safe? Do we trust the internet?
Dr. Pablo Rial, medical director of Clínica Den, comments that for the treatment to be safe it must be prescribed by a dentist and must be carried out taking into account the oral health of the patient. You have to adapt it to the needs of each case. Something that generates mistrust is that you do not explain the pros and cons of treatment. When they only create false expectations is not a good indication.
Be suspicious when you see offers in places of generalized beauty in commercial centers or hairdressers where sometimes whitening treatments are offered without making a previous diagnosis of oral health and carried out by unqualified personnel.
4- Are the kits sold online safe?
After having learned that it is always necessary to know the state of our mouth before having any whitening done and that depending on this, our dentist will present us with several options, dentists affirm that the whitening kits sold in pharmacies or online are safe but not very effective because the concentration of hydrogen peroxide (the whitening agent) is very small, so the difference is not going to be the same.
5- Which technique is best for whitening?
Everything will depend on the patient, but when a smile looks artificial or touches the dreaded nuclear white as in that chapter of Friends where Ross makes this mistake, is a fright and produces rejection.
6- What kind of substances are used to whiten teeth and in what concentration?
“Usually carbamide peroxide at 10 or 16 % or hydrogen peroxide is used. The result is the same at the end, only changes the necessary time of contact with the tooth” (Dr. Pablo Rial, Den Clinics).
“Both carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are used. The concentration and type of bleaching agent is selected according to the type of staining of the tooth, quality of the enamel, the presence of previous hypersensitivity, etc. It is, therefore, an absolutely personalized treatment to maximize its effectiveness”, (Dr. Daniela Carranza, Instituto Profesor Sada).
“Usually hydrogen peroxide is only used in clinics, except for the 6% hydrogen peroxides that are used at home by means of splints 90 minutes a day. Carbamide peroxide is used in home treatments at 10% or 16%. It depends on the technique used by the dentist with each patient”, (Dr. Nadia Sarmini, Clínica Bernabéu).
7- What about sensitivity?
It cannot be denied that there is an increase in dental sensitivity to stimuli such as heat or cold during the first 24-48 hours after the treatment, but once 2 days have passed, the patient will not notice this increase in sensitivity. This does not mean that there is any damage and of course, some type of dental hypersensitivity remains.
Currently, with the incorporation of hydroxyapatite in whitening gels, this sensitivity has been reduced and does not even occur.
8- In which case is it not possible to whiten a mouth?
It is necessary for the dentist to carry out a study of each patient’s tooth color and determine if they are suitable for dental whitening.
If there is no caries-free state of oral health and we suffer from an active periodontal disease, whitening would not be adequate until these problems are resolved. That is why it is essential to have the pertinent tests done before the treatment, in order to know whether or not to do anything.
9- and then what happens?
We will have to have a “white diet” for a week so that the pore of the tooth does not stain with the food or drinks we take. Quitting smoking (if you do) is always positive but also to preserve the new color, avoid very tinted drinks such as wine, dark chocolate …
And always check your mouth once a year to see if progress and health are still in order.