Everyone wants it. Everyone covets it. Even the Ancient Romans went to great lengths just to get it. We’re talking about whiter teeth. Here at Dental Elements we only use the very best teeth whitening products: The difference with Enlighten Whitening is the results. Follow your dentist’s at Dental Elements guidelines your teeth will whiten beyond any other system.
So, Let’s talk about teeth whitening for a bit, and how you can get your sparkling white teeth back from the clutches of all that yellow that has taken up space in your mouth.
A Tooth’s Journey
We all start out having sparkling white teeth because of the porcelain-like surface of enamel. But over time, the enamel wears away and sustains micro-cracks due to chewing and gnashing, exposing the yellowish colour of dentin, which is underneath your tooth’s enamel. Dirt and debris enter through these cracks and combined with the porous surface of teeth, creates an ideal playground for bacteria that contribute to the discolouration of your teeth.
Regular brushing removes some of the debris, but it can’t go any deeper. Bleaching addresses this problem by entering all those micro-cracks and removing all the dirt, debris and stains that have accumulated over the years. This leaves your teeth whiter and brighter than they were before.
Teeth Whitening Explained
According to the FDA, teeth whitening is a procedure to bring your teeth back to their original colour, while the term bleaching is only used when you want to whiten beyond the original colour of your teeth. Whitening toothpaste, tooth whitening gum and whitening toothbrushes fall under the category of “whitening” because using these products can remove some of the stains on the enamel, making it look a little bit lighter, but that’s about as far as these products will go.
If you want the real deal in whitening, go visit a dentist and have your teeth bleached. To achieve whiter teeth, they need to be bleached using 10 % carbamide peroxide or 35% hydrogen peroxide solutions that have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Am I a Candidate for Teeth Whitening?
Almost everyone is a candidate for a brighter smile. Visit your Dentist for an initial exam. S/he’ll tell you whether you’re eligible for whitening or not. Smokers generally have more yellow teeth because of all the tar and nicotine stains, so smoking is prohibited during treatment. Come one, you know smoking is bad for you, so quit while you’re ahead! You’ll get whiter teeth, a brighter smile and healthier lungs for all the trouble.
With regards to insurance coverage, no two insurance companies are the same. Dental insurance does not typically cover the cost of teeth whitening because it’s considered an aesthetic treatment. Please check with your company to see the extent of your coverage.
In-Office Whitening VS Over the Counter
If you’re considering getting your teeth bleached, you have two options: In-office whitening, which is controlled and approved by the dental association or buying over the counter DIY home-whitening kits, which are not. With in-office whitening, you will be carefully assessed by your dental care professional and give you a treatment to address your specific case, based on the products that will work best for you.
Over the counter, products create much more sensitivity and are not approved by the dental association. There are so many different types of products out there, it can be very confusing. How do you know which ones are OK for you and your dental health? The short answer is you don’t. When it comes to DIY home-teeth whitening kits, there is no one-size fits all remedy.
The Risk-Reward Factor
When the bleaching solution enters the small cracks and pores of your teeth and does its magic, it will leave these cracks open for a short time. Some of the cracks and pores will be naturally closed and mineralized by saliva, while some would take more time. Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity during and after the procedure. This is temporary and will go away 1-3 days after treatment is complete.
In the hands of a trained professional, your teeth are perfectly safe. Studies have shown that teeth whitening products using 10% carbamide peroxide showed no effect on the hardness or mineral content of a tooth’s enamel surface. There is also no evidence to date that the teeth whitening process can negatively affect the health of a tooth’s nerve.
The rewards of whiter teeth are well worth the cost. Some people become more confident, while others are just thankful they’re able to flash a winning smile again. The length of time whitened teeth will last is largely dependent on you, because everyone is different. The initial colour of your teeth, your lifestyle, your diet, your regular visits to the dentist and your oral hygiene all play a major role in maintaining white teeth. Those who avoid foods and beverages that stain (coffee, wine) may be able to wait one year or more before whitening treatment or a touch-up is needed to maintain the level of whiteness.