Teeth Whitening: Is It Right for Everyone?

Teeth Whitening: Is It Right for Everyone?

  • Posted: Mar 20, 2024

From toothpaste and gels to strips, mouth trays, and rinses, the market is flooded with products that claim to brighten, lighten, and whiten teeth.

Navigating the array of options at the drugstore can be overwhelming, leading many to question the efficacy and safety of at-home teeth whitening. Canada Dental Network has conducted research to shed light on the matter of how effective at-home teeth whitening products are. For more information on teeth whitening and cosmetic dentistry, continue reading this guideline that outlines the findings.

Tooth Discolouration: Extrinsic Vs. Intrinsic

Tooth discolouration can happen to individuals for a variety of reasons. But generally, tooth discolouration is classified as either extrinsic or intrinsic. These two classifications help to determine the origin of the change in hue or severity. 

How Do Over-the-Counter (OTC) Teeth Whiteners Work?

Experts have noted that OTC teeth whitening products work in two ways. They can either whiten teeth by scraping away stains with physical force, or teeth can be whitened using bleach to remove built-up stains on the teeth. According to Dr. Laura Tam, the dean of dentistry at the University of Toronto, both methods are effective. Let’s review each option in more detail.

  • Physical Abrasion. Physical abrasion involves gritty substances, like whitening toothpaste or baking soda, which physically remove surface stains. In fact, many regular tubes of toothpaste contain a bit of texture for this reason – it helps to physically scrub off stains and debris.
  • Chemical Bleaching. Chemical bleaching utilizes agents such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide found in strips, gels, and rinses. These solutions can address external and internal stains, however, the at-home concentrations are lower which means in-office whitening procedures would yield faster results.

Which Teeth Whitening Products Works?

Overall, both physical abrasion and chemical bleaching products are effective methods of teeth whitening. Physical abrasion methods can remove extrinsic stains as they can leave the teeth clean and stain-free. These methods help to brush away tartar, plaque, and surface stains to help maintain a brighter smile. Chemical bleaching methods can clean both the deep and surface stains to help make the teeth whiter than their natural shade. Whether the stains are from coffee, red wine, tea, cigarettes etc., this method can be effective for reducing these types of stains.

Should I Consider In-Office Teeth Whitening?

However, there is another whitening method that exceeds both these at-home methods. In-office teeth whitening methods use stronger chemicals therefore they yield more significant results. Dentists use professional-grade bleaching agents that allow for a more potent and efficient whitening process. Additionally, in-office treatments often use special lights or lasers that can enhance the whitening effects of the bleaching agents. LED light whitening kits typically involve applying a whitening gel to the teeth and using a bright light to illuminate the gel. In theory, this LED light activates the bleaching chemicals to get faster results. 

Although, keep in mind that there are risks associated with teeth whitening in a dental office as well. Teeth whitening can be linked to an increase in tooth sensitivity and mild gingival irritation. These effects are directly related to the side effects of the concentration of the peroxide bleach component that is used during treatment. Before seeking treatment, it’s best for patients to be informed about the associated risks of teeth whitening whether they are using at-home methods or in-office services.

Are Teeth Whitening Products Safe?

Wondering about the safety of teeth-whitening products? Generally, abrasive options are safe, but it’s crucial to be mindful, as excessive scrubbing or using materials that are too harsh can erode enamel. Keep in mind that enamel is the key to your pearly whites, and if you wear it down excessively, the yellow-brown dentin beneath will become visible, counteracting your whitening efforts. To avoid unintended consequences of overuse, it’s best to follow the recommended guidelines and seek professional assistance when needed.

If you are interested in minimizing the risk, it is recommended to opt for products with lower chemical concentrations and use products with shorter exposure times. When one incorrectly uses treatment for too long or they allow the chemicals to reach the gums, one can lead to potential tooth damage or gum injuries. OTC products should not cause pain, especially during the initial application. If you experience any discomfort, it’s best to remove the treatment immediately and consult with a professional dentist. As a tip, consider avoiding home treatments labelled as “extra strong” as these items can pose unnecessary risks. Milder concentrations can give you the results you desire without compromising your dental health.

Final Advice for Teeth Whitening

In conclusion, the quest for a brighter smile provokes many to explore the various teeth-whitening options available on the market. While over-the-counter (OTC) whiteners have been proven effective, if one is seeking more dramatic results, in-office treatments are recommended. In-office teeth whitening services are a superior alternative for achieving optimal results due to higher chemical concentrations. However, keep in mind that teeth whitening isn’t a permanent solution. At-home results typically last from a few weeks to a few months, while in-office procedures can provide longer-lasting effects, extending up to a year or more. Nevertheless, as teeth naturally darken with age, regression is inevitable, regardless of the chosen treatment.

To consult with a professional and trusted dental office, it’s best to review Canada Dental Network’s website to find a dental clinic close to you that offers superb professional teeth whitening services. Keep in mind that each person’s teeth has a uniqueness in natural tooth color, enamel porosity, and tooth sensitivity making it crucial to consult with a dentist before beginning any treatment. 

Related Articles: