Teeth whitening is a non-invasive, quick and risk-free dental procedure, building on a bright, appealing and young looking smile. Various factors can influence the change of the teeth color. A diet, the intake of too much coffee and / or red wine, smoking can all lead to teeth discoloring and staining. On the other hand, people's teeth vary in color – they are not all perfectly white.

What causes healthy teeth to change color and lose luminosity?

Various factors can influence the change of the teeth color. A diet, the intake of too much coffee and / or red wine, smoking can all lead to teeth discoloring and staining. On the other hand, people's teeth vary in color – they are not all perfectly white.

However, what is the reason behind teeth discoloring? The enamel wearing down. Enamel is the hard mineralized surface on the top of the teeth, whose general function is to protect teeth from influences of the environment (including the effects of chewing). A calcified tissue – dentin – is located underneath the enamel. Its natural color is yellow. As the enamel is semi-translucent, the color of the material under it strongly impacts the appearance of a tooth. Over time, enamel becomes blunt and more transparent. This way the yellow color of the dentin gets more visible through the enamel. Simultaneously, with the process of every day intake of food and drink, small crack shows up on the enamel. They, together with the spaces between the crystalline enamel gradually fill-up with stains and debris. Cumulatively, all these effects lead to a smile, lacking shininess and attractiveness. The procedure of teeth whitening reverses the process. There are generally two ways to perform teeth whitening: at-home method (via professional home whitening kits) and at the dental clinic method (via laser teeth whitening). Both rely on the whitening process of the peroxide-based whitening gel (6% - 30%).

At-Home Method

This method involves whitening using an especially designed mouthpiece. The mouthpiece, prepared in the dental clinic, together with the whitening agent will be given to you to use it at home. You will first need to fill up the mouthpiece with the whitening agent and then place it in your mouth (bite the mouthpiece) so that the whitening material covers your teeth. It should remain that way for a certain period of time as instructed by your dentist. Depending on the concentration of the agent, that period vary on average between 1 to 2 hours per day for 5 to 10 days. Some teeth whitening systems even require wearing the mouthpiece overnight.

At the dental clinic Method (Power Bleaching or laser teeth whitening)

The teeth whitening procedure performed at the dental clinic is the same as the 'at home' one. The only difference is that the used whitening agent is in higher concentration and is additionally activated by high intensity light to accelerate the whitening process. The procedure usually takes approximately 1 to 2 hours, leading to instant results.
However, at the dental clinic procedure suggests a few steps. The first one involves removing any surface stains and tartar. Subsequently, protective gel will be placed around your gums so that only the teeth will be exposed to the compound (Note that in the "at home" procedures whitening kits contain a low concentration of peroxide and there is a smaller chance to damage your gums). In approximately 15 minutes the whitening gel is renewed and the process is repeated twice again. Very often teeth are sensitive immediately following this procedure. It is advisable to avoid smoking, hot, cold and color drinks for a certain period of time. The effect of teeth's sensitivity rarely lasts more than 48 hours. Fluoride treatment can be applied in order to reduce it.

When choosing the type of the procedure you would like to have it is good to know that professional home whitening kits provide more permanent results over a long time scale, whereas laser tooth whitening offers immediate results. A combination of the two provides the perfect solution for both immediate and long-term whitening results.

Suitability for whitening

Whitening is suitable for people who enjoy healthy teeth and gums. On the other hand, the teeth whitening process does not change the color of crowns, veneers or fillings. This is to say that if you wish to have a whitening procedure you may need to change all of the above restorations to match the color of your whitened teeth.
Please consider the fact that some stains (e.g. myosin, fluorosis, tetracycline), although reduced to some extent, cannot be completely removed. Tetracycline antibiotics, taken in the childhood, can cause a grayish stain to be incorporated deep within the tooth structure. In this case, the only option for you might be porcelain veneers or cosmetic bonding to cover the stains on your teeth. With veneers, you can choose the exact shade of your teeth and you have the option to change the overall shape of your teeth and smile.
Note that nicotine staining may conceal the bleaching effect. We therefore recommend frequent check-ups at the dental cabinet.

How much whiter will your teeth look?

The extent of whiteness varies for the different people and also depends on the applied whitening system. Individuals with heavily stained yellow teeth tend to have more significant results than those with slightly discolored teeth.

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