How to have whiter teeth and a beautiful, healthy smile

Dental whitening is a technique that has become very popular in recent years due to the aesthetic appeal of white and well aligned teeth.

 The fact that whitening has been used by dentists for over a hundred years is something most people are not aware of.

In 1989, the home bleaching technique was introduced. This technique is done at night with a tray using 10% carbamide peroxide as a bleaching agent, for around 15 days, depending on the type of stains to be removed. This technique has become very popular due to its practicality and effectiveness. Over time, it has undergone some adaptations such as the use of higher concentrations of the gels (15%, 16% and 20%) and the use of the tray during the day.

Currently, laser whitening, which is performed by the dentist, is an alternative for those who do not want to be tied to using the trays and want to achieve faster results, because the concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are higher, 35% in most cases.

SO, WHAT TYPE SHOULD I USE?

Talk to your dentist and come up with a specific treatment plan that is right for you. There are some advantages to doing the whitening at the dental clinic:  for example, you will not need to use the tray, the treatment time is shorter, and, in general, tooth sensitivity is less than when using the homemade treatment, however the cost is substantially higher.

SHOULD I USE WHITENING TOOTHPASTE DURING LIGHTENING TO ACCELERATE THE PROCESS?

No. Toothpastes that have the expression whitening on the packaging do not have the same mechanism of action as the whitening done at the dental office and at home. These toothpastes contain abrasive particles that remove the enamel’s surface layer in addition to the more superficial stains. With the enamel’s continuous removal, due to prolonged use, the dentin, which is the layer below the enamel and is yellowish in colour, becomes more visible, therefore the tooth becomes yellower.

OVER THE COUNTER (OTC) WHITENING PRODUCTS

The English term over the counter drugs is used to refer to medicines that are sold without a prescription. That is, they are those you find on the shelves of any pharmacy, supermarket or convenience store. Therefore, OTC whitening products are also easily found and sold.

These products, when administered without caution, can cause problems such as enamel erosion to the user. OTC products contain prefabricated trays that can leak gel (some at high concentrations) into the mouth, which may cause tooth sensitivity and gingival irritation. In addition, some of them come with a whitening toothpaste that contains titanium dioxide, which is a white pigment and can give the temporary appearance of whitened teeth.

Dr. Olavo Queiroz received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas and has been working as a dentist in Toronto since 1995. His clinic, Lawrence Park Dental, is located at the York Mills subway station.

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