What Is Teeth Whitening? Types, Process And Side-Effects Of This Treatment

What is teeth bleaching? Here is the step by step guide of this unique treatment.

Tavishi Dogra
Written by: Tavishi DograPublished at: Dec 18, 2020
What Is Teeth Whitening? Types, Process And Side-Effects Of This Treatment

What is teeth whitening treatment? A tooth whitening treatment, also known as tooth bleaching is the process of lightening the colour of teeth. It is done when teeth become yellow over time for several reasons and can be done by changing the colour of tooth enamel. Does it involve the use of whitening gels with/without unique lights under the supervision of dentists to give patients brighter smiles? How much does the teeth whitening treatment cost? The cost of teeth whitening depends upon the condition, stains and types of teeth. But, the minimum price to whiten your teeth is Rs.5,000. However, the price may go up to cost between INR 12000-20000 depending on the experience of the dentist. Hence, being costly, this treatment cannot be afforded by everyone. But don't worry, as today we are bringing you some home remedies to brighten your teeth naturally.

What are various types of teeth whitening treatment? 

Types of teeth whitening treatment by Dr Rekha Aggarwal, Dental Surgeon (Save 32 Charitable Dental Clinic)

  • In-Office Bleaching
  • Teeth Whitening Trays, Gels and Strips
  • Teeth Whitening Toothpastes
Teeth Whitening Toothpastes
  • Teeth Whitening Products
  • Laser Bleaching
  • Natural Teeth Whitening
  • The At-office whitening is done at the dental clinic under the supervision of a trained dental professional. It is entirely safe and achieves better results. 
  • The At-home whitening involves making custom-fit trays for you by the dentist. He then will also give some home whitening gels and proper instructions to use. The custom-fit trays allow the gels to work safely only on your teeth without harming the adjacent gums. At-home kits are dispensed by the dentist only. 

What is the process of teeth whitening? Here is the step by step treatment guide by Dr Pankaj Chivte (M.D.S - Periodontology) 

The method of teeth whitening is simple as it is done with the help of bleaching substance (peroxide-based bleaching material), the amount of which varies depending upon at home (3 to 20%) or in-office methods (15 to 43%).

  • The first step is a teeth cleaning, followed by a thorough polishing. 
  • Once the surfaces are clean, we apply a protection shield for the lips, cheeks and tongue. Then the gum protection barrier is used, thus isolating your teeth for the whitening gel to have the best and safe teeth whitening effect. 

  • Well-researched and safe whitening gels are applied on the teeth and left on for around 15 minutes.  
  • Teeth whitening is a 1-hour appointment procedure. It is a painless procedure. 
  • The patient can catch a quick nap or hear to some music on ear-pods whilst having his/ her teeth whitened. 

Post whitening instructions

  • Do Not eat/ drink for 1 hour at least.
  • Foods with added or natural colourants: soy sauce,  beef, bologna, chocolate and ketchup are examples.
  • How long after teeth whitening can you eat normally? Avoid food with strong colours, too hot/ cold drinks, coloured drinks like tea/coffee/red wine/tomato juice/cola/al for 1 or 2 days > Avoid smoking for 24-48 hrs.

Teeth bleaching treatment: Here are its five side effects

  • Teeth whitening is one of the safest methods done by a trained dental professional. 
  • Generally, at office dental whitening do not have any side-effects. 
Teeth bleaching treatment
  • However, some patients may feel some sensitivity to air while talking, drinking water, etc. These are generally temporary and settles down in 24 hours. Alternatively, the dentist can apply some desensitising gels, which further reduce the sensitivity or prescribe some kinds of toothpaste. 
  • At times, when done by inexperienced professionals or in shortcut ways, may cause burns on the gums, cheeks and lips. Tooth sensitivity usually occurs during the early stages of whitening treatment.
  • The side effects that occur most often with teeth bleaching is mild irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth, particularly the gums.

Myths and facts related to teeth whitening

  • Myth: Teeth whitening harms your teeth enamel 
  • Fact: Professional teeth treatments are entirely safe, and when correctly done, do not harm the enamel. Teeth whitening is a dental procedure – so one should see a dentist for the same and avoid beauticians or shopping centres, etc. to ensure your safety. The process of teeth bleaching may cause temporary sensitivity. The dentist can generally advise you different products before or after the treatment as required in your case.
  • Myth: Use healthier teeth whitening agents if you want to reduce treatment time.
  • Fact: Every individual tooth responds to bleaching at different rates due to which there’s no guarantee of getting your teeth whiter faster. Teeth bleaching agents contain peroxide which used in higher concentrations can cause sensitive teeth.
  • Myth: DIY or natural alternatives can remove stains and brighten teeth 
  • Fact: Many people mention teeth whitening techniques they have read on the internet. These are untrue and can be detrimental to the health of your teeth and have the opposite effect. Many fruits are acidic and eat away at the teeth enamel, which can then make your teeth more discoloured and increase the risk of decay or cavities. You will need more treatment, eventually. 
Myths and facts related to teeth whitening
  • Myth: At home and OTC teeth whitening products are risk-free.
  • Fact: With at-home and OTC teeth whitening products, there is a risk of selecting or using a low-quality product, incorrectly applying it or overusing it. Overusing a teeth whitening product or using a low-quality product can result in enamel damage (one of the causes of sensitive teeth).
  • Myth: It works the same for everyone 
  • Fact: Whitening treatments don't work on dentures, veneers, caps, crowns or fillings. Teeth stained grey or blue, often from medications or trauma, might not whiten. But, yellowish teeth usually whiten the best. Talk to your dentist about your teeth & the whitening procedure to give you the best results. 
  • Myth: No need to treat your sensitive teeth while whitening as it's temporary
  • Fact: Toothpaste contains potassium nitrate (nerve-calming ingredient) which should be used before, during and after teeth whitening to help prevent sensitivity.

What foods and drinks whiten teeth naturally? 

When it comes to natural whitening of teeth, there is one tried and tested method that has proven to show excellent results. We have all heard of the concept called oil-pulling. Oil pulling originated in India as part of natural healing practices described in ancient Ayurveda texts, according to (NCBI), the National Center for Biotechnology Information. While any oil can be used, but, Clinical and Sports Nutritionist, Vaibhav Garg, especially recommend coconut oil for a host of reasons. Not only does it have a pleasant taste, but it comes with a host of benefits, a major one being concerning the presence of lauric acid in it. It is known to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria. The practice involves using a pure/virgin variety of oil instead of toothpaste. Some people like to swish the oil around in the mouth, while those with a bit more patience can practice brushing with it thoroughly for 15-20 minutes. It is a safe method, plus it helps rid your gut of harmful bacteria as well.

What foods and drinks whiten teeth naturally?

Takeaway tips Dr Pankaj Chivte

  • Online recommendations like the use of crushed strawberries or lemon juice or banana peels to whiten teeth often seem to be effective at first, but over time, the acid in these fruits harm your enamel. 
  • Hydrogen peroxide, if improperly used, can cause tissue damage. Despite many claims of various techniques, there is no scientific evidence to support that they can whiten teeth. 

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