Everyone wants to have a smile that can win people. Some of us are blessed with a perfect set of pearly whites, to make our smile winning. But many of us have problems with the colour of our teeth. To make our teeth the desired colour we can use teeth whitening procedure to whiten our teeth and get the smile we want.
The colour of our teeth is based on internal and external factors. Internal factors include the properties of our teeth. Teeth are made up of 4 layers, among which dentine is the second layer after enamel. Dentin colour is the one that is visible on the enamel. If dentine is darker shade of white than our teeth will appear yellowish. Extrinsic factors include poor dental hygiene, stains due to foods that leave behind colour on the teeth and also smoking. These stains can be removed with the process called teeth whitening.
How does teeth whitening procedure work?
Teeth whitening is a procedure where chemical compositions are used to bleach or whiten your teeth where the stains on your teeth are removed and your teeth looks a shade lighter than they were. The teeth whitening products generally contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, the latter more commonly used by over-the-counter products and in-office dentists.
The colour of teeth comes from the internal factor like dentin which is the second layer of the tooth and external factors like stains from food and tobacco. The peroxide breaks molecules on enamel so that reflection of light makes them look whiter.
In various countries, the composition of the products for teeth whitening differ according to regulations governing dental products in the country. Depending on the amount of peroxide and method used for the process, teeth will become whiter.
What is teeth whitening sensitivity?
When teeth become sensitive while going through the procedure of whitening, or immediately after, it is called teeth whitening sensitivity. When teeth are sensitive, the discomfort is experienced while eating hot or cold foods and also while eating chocolate or sweet things.
Causes of teeth whitening sensitivity
The main cause of teeth whitening sensitivity is the chemical used in the teeth whitening, which makes the enamel porous for the time being. The process of teeth whitening requires chemicals to breakdown dense molecules on the teeth. When these molecules are broken, sometimes, chemicals reach dentine which brings on pain and discomfort. After a while the pores close up slowly and the sensitivity also disappears. Some people are sensitive to peroxide, which is a common ingredient of teeth whitening products. There are other people who are on some kind of medicine for their ailments, which may interfere with the active ingredients of the product and may cause sensitivity. Still other causes include bad dental hygiene habits which allows accumulation of tartar on the teeth.
Your teeth are sensitive already if you have gone through dental treatment of any kind very recently, it will like make your teeth more sensitive the whitening treatment. Sometimes when you have another underlying dental problem, it will cause teeth to be sensitive to the whitening procedure. Some people have thin enamel which can be hereditary. The sensitivity for teeth whitening also depends on the dosage of chemical in the product, and how long the treatment is going to continue. The personal medical history plays one of the major role in teeth sensitivity for whitening treatment.
How to avoid teeth whitening sensitivity
Teeth whitening sensitivity is usually temporary and goes away after your teeth have developed or restored lost minerals from the treatment. In few cases it persists if the treatment goes on for several weeks.
When you are doing teeth whitening at home, and you are worried about sensitivity in teeth, you can consider using product where a lower concentration of active ingredient is used.
- You can also use lower concentration of the whitening product in the tray which will help in less sensitivity.
- A lower amount of chemical product will also help.
- Sometimes people are advised to stagger the treatment in batches till sensitivity lessens.
- Some dentists use the treatment desensitization of teeth before beginning the teeth whitening procedure.
- Use desensitising toothpaste or gel which are available over the counter.
The best method to avoid teeth whitening sensitivity is to get the procedure done at the dentist’s office. Your dentist knows your dental and medical history. She will take the best possible decision with your consultation to what products are best suited to your needs. Also, even if sensitivity develops mid treatment, she will know how to handle it based on your medical history. If you are on any medication, it is best to tell her about it so she can decide on the methods of application as well as content of the product.
The cost of dentist’s treatment for teeth whitening will be compensated enough by the comfort and satisfaction level at the end.
Even when you decide to do at-home teeth whitening, take your dentist’s advice. If you cannot adjust your schedule with dentist’s schedule, then do the teeth whitening at home under her guidance.
Your dentist will explain how to use the product. If it has to be poured into a tray like mouth guard and worn over your teeth for some time, your dentist will tell you for how long.
In case you have chosen to do the procedure yourself, if you find your teeth sensitive, call your dentist and ask him how to go about completing the procedure.
At all times it is very important to follow the guidelines given by your dentist.