Everything You Need to Know About Teeth Whitening
Tooth discoloration is often a sign of embarrassment that it can single-handedly drag someone’s self-esteem down. Imagine having to cover your mouth every time you laugh or feel insecure when talking to people. The thing is, it might be impossible to conceal stained teeth forever. Nowadays, thankful for the availability of teeth whitening treatments, achieving a brighter smile doesn’t seem far-fetched.
But before you dive into any teeth whitening procedure, do you know exactly what you’re getting into? Read on this ultimate guide to know everything about teeth whitening.
Your Comprehensive Guide to Teeth Whitening
Teeth-Staining: What Causes Tooth Discoloration?
Before you head on to the actual process of teeth whitening, you might want to know first which factors led to the staining of your teeth. There are several of them – some are caused by a natural process and others are brought by unhealthy habits.
Food and Drinks
Just like your clothes, your teeth are prone to staining caused by pigmented food and beverages. This is due to the presence of pores in your teeth. They give your dentin sponge-like properties that absorb colors and acids. The following are a few of the common food and drinks that you might want to limit in your diet as they are known to discolor your teeth.
Teeth-staining Food and Beverages
- Energy Drinks
- Red Wine
- Carbonated Drinks
- Fruit Juices
- Sweet and Sugar-rich Food
- Red Meat
Smoking will never do your oral health any good. Nicotine and tar products, when consumed repeatedly, cause discoloration. Worse, your teeth might even develop brown spots, which are far more difficult to remove than yellow stains.
Improper oral hygiene can also lead to the buildup of plaque in your mouth, which may lead to tartar formation. If such happens, you have no other choice but to seek professional help as it is impossible to remove on your own.
Taking antibacterial medicines might also be a culprit in the fading of your pearly whites. For instance, an antibiotic called tetracycline is known to cause gray discoloration of the teeth.
The decrease in your teeth’s level of whiteness may be attributed to the natural process of aging. Over time, the enamel on your teeth slowly erodes. This results in the underlying yellow dentin becoming more evident.
People acquire different teeth colors the moment they are born. Note that the normal shade of the teeth isn’t completely white but slightly yellow. This is because the outer coating of your teeth called the enamel has a translucent property, making the yellow-tinted inner layer, known as the dentin, to peek through.
While there are individuals who are gifted with lighter shades of teeth at birth, some fall into the misfortune of inheriting a disease called dentinogenesis imperfecta. This can cause darkening of your teeth, most often in hues of blue-gray or yellow-brown.
Benefits: Why Whiten Your Teeth?
Probably one of the first things people see when they meet you, a bright smile can definitely work in your favor across many aspects. From simple physical enhancements to making you thrive in professional situations, whitening your teeth comes with benefits that might change your life for the better.
Enhances Appearance and Boosts Self-esteem
There’s no denying that a bright smile can make you look good and feel great about yourself. In fact, the appearance of your teeth might be one of the considerations for judging a person’s level of attractiveness. With whiter teeth, you can flash your biggest smiles without hesitation. You no longer have to cover your teeth when laughing and talking. Moreover, a picture-perfect smile does not seem far-fetched if you can confidently beam your brightest smile on camera.
Makes You Look Younger
Teeth are usually associated with youth and beauty. Some even say that smiling can make you appear younger. True to its claims, a study published in Psychology and Aging revealed that people who have smiling faces are perceived to be younger than those who often show a neutral or angry facial expression.
Moreover, a brighter smile may help minimize the look of wrinkles as people will most likely draw more attention to your teeth than the surrounding wrinkles and frown lines.
Easy and Affordable
If you’re aiming for overall beauty enhancements, teeth whitening procedures will most likely be included in your checklist. Unlike plastic surgeries, bleaching treatments come in small price tags but oversized benefits. The glow-up process is also relatively easy that you won’t need to go under the knife. It only takes a few minutes or hours to see the results.
Improves Oral Health Care
Having bright teeth may indicate that you commit to a healthy oral care routine. You’d also find the motivation to practice regular brushing and flossing, especially after experiencing the positive effects of teeth whitening.
Note: A healthy mouth can go beyond aesthetic benefits. Diseases such as mouth ulcers and organ failure can be prevented if you engage in a proper oral care routine.
Helps You Thrive in Your Career
If you have interviews coming up, you might want to make sure that you use every means possible to charm the interviewer. And one of the things that might give you an edge is your smile. Having whiter teeth during interviews can boost your confidence and in effect, people will feel that you are well-prepared.
Furthermore, brighter teeth indicate that you take good care of yourself. This might help make a positive impression of your sense of responsibility and discipline.
A dazzling smile can also help you thrive in other professional situations such as client presentations and sales negotiations.
Your Options and Their Costs: What are the Teeth Whitening Products and Treatments?
There is a vast selection of products and treatments that claim to make your teeth a few shades lighter. Whether you decide to purchase teeth brightening kits, create your own whitening recipe at home, or seek services from teeth whitening salons, the process of teeth whitening is now made convenient and accessible. Now it only depends on your preferred method, expected results, and of course, the budget.
Over-the-counter Teeth Whitening Products
As the name suggests, over-the-counter products are readily available in stores. They don’t require experts’ prescriptions, making them easier for you to purchase. Generally, these teeth brightening products contain carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide as whitening agents.
Probably the most widely-used teeth brightening product, most whitening toothpaste has mild abrasives that help prevent the formation of stains without damaging the enamel. Whitening toothpaste can normally improve teeth color by one shade. But there are also products that provide intensive treatment for an extra whitening boost.
Cost: Depending on the brand and size, over-the-counter whitening toothpaste might cost around 150 pesos, and this can already sustain a month-long use. There are also teeth whitening salons that offer premium whitening toothpaste available for purchase. These can cost around Php 650 to Php 850.
Note: Some whitening toothpaste may contain highly abrasive materials that could damage your mouth. If you’re unsure which products to buy over-the-counter, try paying a visit to clinics or salons. They might recommend the most suitable brightening toothpaste given your oral condition.
Teeth Whitening Strips and Gels
If you happen to buy whitening strips, you might also find bleaching gels included in the package. This is because gels and strips usually come in kits. Whitening gels are applied directly to the teeth using a small brush. Whitening strips, on the other hand, are extremely thin in appearance and are coated with peroxide-based whitening gel.
Instructions vary depending on the strength of the peroxide so be sure to check the label. Initial results might already be visible in the first few days following the application.
Cost: Personal care stores and online shops typically sell these teeth whitening kits for as low as Php 130 to over Php 2,000. A single package may contain strips and gels that can be worn for a month or less.
Teeth Whitening Pens
If you’re always on the go, you might find a teeth whitening pen beneficial. It comes in small pens with a brush tip that can be directly applied on the surface of the teeth. In other words, it works like a paint. While its easy application feature gives it an edge, it can put it at a disadvantage as well. Their lightening effects don’t last for long so you might need to re-apply multiple times. Moreover, you might end up having uneven shades if you fail to paint certain spots.
Cost: Teeth whitening pens that can be ordered online can cost anywhere between Php 35 to Php 249.
Tray-Based Teeth Whitening Systems
These mouth fillers come in guard-like trays that have a gel whitening solution. They are typically worn for a couple of hours a day. Depending on the level of staining and the degree of whiteness you desire to achieve, frequency of application may change.
Cost: The cheapest whitening trays available online only cost more than Php 20. Other brands may go as high as Php 1000.
Note: Be careful when choosing these types of product as you might end up buying unreliable ones. You can always check for online reviews, if there are any.
Probably the newest bleaching products, whitening rinses do more than making your breath fresh and reducing plaque. What makes them distinct from regular mouthwash is the presence of teeth lightening agents, which can effectively remove organic stains. It also helps prevent oral sensitivity and plaque build-up. To use them, you simply swish the rinse in your mouth for a minute before brushing your teeth.
Cost: Small volumes (less than 500 mL) of whitening rinses may be as cheap as Php 150 only.
A quick run on Google search will give you a list of do-it-yourself techniques to lighten your teeth. Some of these at-home remedies normally require the application of fruits and kitchen essentials which are believed to contain bleaching agents.
Common DIY Teeth Whitening Ingredients
- Coconut Oil
- Baking Soda
- Apple Cider Vinegar
The debate on whether or not these home-made ingredients are indeed safe and effective is still on the table. Some say that they work but other experts consider them as myths and even damaging to your teeth. Be sure to verify the facts and seek the professionals’ recommendations before trying them out.
Probably the fastest way to whiten teeth, bleaching procedures done in clinics or salons are proven to be safe and effective. Unlike over-the-counter products and home remedies, you can count on the experts monitoring and handling the process. Having your teeth whitened professionally guarantees that the treatments you receive are appropriate for your oral condition. Most clinics adjust the level of hydrogen peroxide concentration and even use equipment, like laser and LED light technology, to give you the best results.
Cost: In the Philippines, you can get your teeth whitened by professionals from Php 4000 up to Php 8000. There are also packages available depending on the desired level of whiteness you wish to achieve and the number of sessions you can avail.
Effects and Results: What to Do and Expect After Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening doesn’t simply end in product applications or clinic visits. You need to know exactly what you should do after the procedures for you to experience the best results.
After the treatments, you might experience some degree of oral sensitivity in the form of sore throat, gum irritation and reactions to cold and health temperatures. You need not panic as these are normal. They usually indicate the on-going dehydration process caused by the bleach. However, should they fail to subside after 12 to 14 hours, you might already need to consult with the experts.
Tip: If you dislike the idea of having to endure the sensations, don’t worry because there are teeth whitening salons that guarantee non-invasive and pain-free procedures!
Duration of Teeth Whitening Results
One thing that should be set straight is the fact that teeth whitening results are only temporary. Depending on the clinic and the method used, you might get to enjoy a dazzling smile for a few months.
No matter how effective they are, teeth whitening treatments are not your be-all and end-all when it comes to achieving a brighter smile. You need to accompany them with certain lifestyle adjustments and proper oral care.
Refrain from smoking and limit your consumption of pigmented food and beverages. Note that the first few hours (around 72 hours) after the whitening procedures are crucial as your teeth surface are prone to re-absorbing stains.
For you to experience the best results, regular brushing and flossing should also be part of your daily oral care routine.
Tip: Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrush as it might wear out the enamel and can lead to tooth sensitivity.
What Makes a Poor Candidate for Teeth Whitening Treatments?
Generally, people who have healthy gums and teeth with no restorations are the ideal patients for bleaching treatments. Naturally yellow teeth also respond better to whitening procedures. Unfortunately, there are also individuals who might not be recommended to undergo teeth whitening. So before you head on to any procedures, make sure to check out the list below to see if you are fit to do so.
Children aged under 16 years old are not recommended to undergo bleaching treatments since all their teeth are not yet in place. Otherwise, they might end up having uneven shades when their teeth have all grown and developed. Aside from that, the nerve of the tooth or the pulp chamber is still swelling at this age. Whitening your teeth might irritate the pulp, causing it to become sensitive.
Teeth whitening treatments might not be recommended for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. Although this subject is still under debate, some experts believe that certain teeth lightening procedures may contain chemicals that can pose threats to the developing baby when absorbed.
However, there are also teeth whitening products that are guaranteed safe to use during pregnancy. Though not as effective as in-salon treatment, they can still help remove surface stains and prevent further staining.
Crowns, bridges and veneers, and other fillings might be more difficult to whiten than natural teeth. However, there are still bleaching technology that can help remove organic stains and revive the original luster of your dental restorations.
Tooth Sensitivity and Allergies to Certain Products
Patients with sensitive teeth and gums are generally discouraged from undergoing bleaching treatments. Watch out for allergies to peroxide as well since it is a widely-used agent in teeth whitening products. It is best to consult with the experts first before going through any treatment.
If you have gum diseases, worn enamel, and exposed teeth roots, you might not be the best candidate for bleaching treatments. Having cavities allow the whitening agents to penetrate through inner areas of the tooth, which leads to sensitivity. This is why a decaying tooth needs to be treated beforehand. Also, bleaching procedures might not work on exposed roots since they no longer have enamel.
If you think bleaching treatments can magically reveal “blinding white” teeth, you might need to realign your expectations. Whitening procedures may help improve your teeth to a few shades lighter but not to the point of making it look unnaturally bleached. You also need to consider that the natural color of your teeth and the degree of staining they acquired may affect whitening results. Ideally, the level of whiteness that you should aim for is slightly whiter color than the whites of your eyes.
Whitening your teeth is now within hand reach given the multitude of options you can choose from. But with its wide accessibility also comes the responsibility to know which ones are the most reliable and safest way to enhance your teeth color. If in doubt, always seek advice from the experts.
Want to whiten your teeth to a few shades lighter? The Smile Bar is here to help. Book with us now!