Teeth whitening is one of the most demanded cosmetic dental treatments in recent years. What this technique consists of and what different options we have when applying it?
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What is dental aesthetics?
Dental aesthetics is a specialty of dentistry that aims to solve problems related to health, the functionality of the mouth and achieve harmony in the smile. This aesthetic harmony is important to achieve positive results for the confidence and self-esteem of the patient, and for this reason you should feel comfortable when you smile. A person who likes to smile, because he has a beautiful smile, is not the same as one who hides it. There are many patients who have this fear of smiling and avoid it as much as possible because their mouth makes them uncomfortable. And this can produce a complex.
Thanks to technology, dental aesthetics have come a long way in recent years and today we have multiple options. For example, if we do orthodontics for dental alignment, there are techniques, such as invisible orthodontics (invisalign), with which it is no longer necessary to use traditional braces, which could create a bit of complexity. On the other hand, if the teeth do not have a beautiful color, we can do tooth whitening, which is one of the most demanded aesthetic treatments in recent years.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a treatment that makes it possible to lighten the color of teeth that have lost their natural white, either through the consumption of foods and beverages that can alter their color, through the use of tetracycline-containing medications, through tobacco consumption or by the time. It must be taken into account that in tooth enamel there are countless micropores that, over the years, allow organic compounds to reach the dentin, so that its color is altered.
Teeth whitening, contrary to what the patient may think, is not an aggressive treatment. It is a process in which a gel with carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide is applied directly on the surface of the tooth to whiten its color.
In principle, there are usually no contraindications, although a previous study of the patient and the health of his mouth must always be carried out to determine its viability.
What types of teeth whitening are there?
Although whitening is performed on non-vital teeth, which have undergone root canal treatment and do not have a nerve, the most common is to do it on vital teeth.
Currently there are two whitening techniques: one is ambulatory, in which the same patient applies the treatment at home, and the other is performed in the dentist’s office.
The outpatient technique is done at home and the same patient applies the whitening products, for a certain time each day, for approximately two weeks, depending on the peroxide or the product that is used. To this end, the dentist takes a preliminary impression of the upper and lower arches of the patient. With this mold, a splint perfectly adapted to the teeth is manufactured, where the whitening gel will be placed so that it is in direct contact with the teeth, and in such a way a possible contact with the periodontal tissues that could damage them is avoided.
The other whitening technique is done in the dental clinic and consists of the use of a hydrogen peroxide gel at a higher concentration, which can accelerate its activity if it is exposed to the intense light of a lamp. This photoactivation tooth whitening reduces the time that the tooth must be exposed to the whitening gel, so results are achieved more visibly and quickly. With this technique, it is essential to protect the oral mucosa from contact with the chemical agent, and that both the dentist and the patient wear protective glasses.
The whitening session at the dental clinic can last between 30 and 90 minutes. To achieve the desired results, between one and three appointments are needed, always depending on the technique used, the intensity of the spots and the shade of white that you want to achieve. Subsequently, the patient will have to do a reinforcement treatment at home.
In general, the patient is always told that whitening is like going to sunbathe: in the same way that there are people who get very brown, there are teeth that get very white. A minimum of whitening is always achieved, but it depends a lot on the original color of the tooth. Therefore, the specialist has to assess each case previously to explain to the patient everything that can be achieved.
What to do after whitening?
It must be taken into account that photoactivation tooth whitening continues to act for several hours after its application, so the patient should not smoke for at least an 8-hour period or ingest food and beverages with many color pigments, or dyes, for at least 24 hours after application.
Although it is a very effective treatment, tooth whitening is not permanent and its duration can be affected by poor behavior or hygiene of the patient. Stains may reappear if you continue to smoke or avoid consuming foods or beverages that can discolor teeth, such as coffee, tea, wine, sports drinks, hard candy, as much as possible. berries or tomato sauce.
And, although today we can find many dental whitening kits on the market, it is always advisable to apply these treatments under the supervision of a professional.