Teeth Whitening and Enamel Health: What You Need to Know

Teeth Whitening and Enamel Health: What You Need to Know

  • Posted: Mar 26, 2024

A radiant, white smile is often associated with good dental health and beauty. Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure offering various methods, including at-home options and professional treatments, available to achieve these attributes. Understanding how these methods work and their potential side effects is crucial for safe and effective teeth whitening. Canada Dental Network is here to provide you with more information on cosmetic dentistry.

Kinds of Teeth Stains

To whiten your teeth effectively, it’s important to know which kind of stains your teeth have. Knowing this information will help you effectively solve the problem. Teeth stains fall into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. 

  • Intrinsic Stains. Are stains within the tooth that are often caused by factors like antibiotics, genetic predisposition, high level of exposure to fluoride, or thin enamel.
  • Extrinsic Stains. On the other hand, extrinsic stains result from external factors like coffee, smoking, artificial food colourings, or red wine. 

Teeth Whitening Options

Teeth whitening provides a range of solutions, from over-the-counter (OTC) products to professional in-office treatments, each tailored to address various types of stains and user preferences. Let’s review the most common options.

  • OTC Whitening Products. This includes toothpaste and mouthwashes that utilize ingredients like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to minimize stains. While effective, users must strictly adhere to usage instructions, as these chemicals can be aggressive and cause sensitivity or irritation.
  • Home Whitening Kits. These options are available as gels, pastes, or strips offering convenience, but often they contain lower concentrations of active ingredients compared to professional treatments. While the effectiveness of these enhancements is uncertain, daily use over several weeks is typically required for visible results.
  • Professional Dental Office Whitening. In-office teeth whitening at the dentist’s office employs higher concentrations of active ingredients for quicker and more pronounced results. Multiple sessions may be necessary, with power bleaching involving rinsing teeth with a potent hydrogen peroxide solution.

Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

Temporary tooth sensitivity and gum irritation are common side effects of teeth whitening, particularly with higher concentrations of peroxide. While in-office treatments take precautions to protect the gums, at-home kits may lead to increased sensitivity. Prolonged or excessive whitening can result in permanent enamel damage.

Candidates for Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a personal aesthetic choice rather than a medical necessity. Individuals with natural teeth experiencing yellowing due to aging, genetics, or lifestyle habits (such as drinking pop or coffee) may consider whitening. However, those with dental implants, veneers, or other dental work might not be suitable candidates.

The Final Word on Teeth Whitening

When it comes to obtaining a radiant and white smile, teeth whitening often emerges as a popular choice as it offers diverse methods to cater to individual preferences. Before deciding whether you wish to take the OTC route or the dental office whitening route, Canada Dental Network recommends that you seek the guidance of a dental professional. To discuss your options, find a dental office that can provide you with quality advice.