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Teeth whitening, part two

Posted on 27/06/2016
Teeth whitening, part two

Before any teeth whitening process the most important thing to keep in mind is that treatment should be individualised for each patient, because the causes and severity of discolouring are different for each person. Below are answers to some of the questions most frequently asked about teeth whitening by patients at our dental clinic in Barcelona: 

 Can tooth whitening substitute a cleaning?

One of the myths surrounding teeth whitening is that it is related to or even replaces a dental cleaning. This is false. Bleaching is a cosmetic technique and in no way replaces a cleaning. Cleaning removes bacteria, strengthens the enamel and protects teeth.

The purpose of using a bleaching treatment with special cold-light lamps (like LED lights) like we do at our Casanova 25 dental clinic is to find a system capable of accelerating the effect of peroxides, thereby enhancing the bleaching process without heating the tooth or causing damage to the soft tissues. This is achieved specifically by the light, which is absorbed selectively by a gel applied to the teeth.

Is teeth whitening effective on all types of stains?

No. The best results are with teeth that have yellowed over the years or have a natural shade. Teeth with more severe staining (orange or gravy shades) can be lightened, although it depends on the shade and must be reviewed by the specialist, because satisfactory results are not always achieved in the most severe cases. Stains caused by the drug tetracycline can give teeth a greyish shade that complicates teeth whitening. Other options, such as veneers, caps or crowns, are often used in these cases.

Why do teeth become stained?

Teeth yellow with age. They can also become stained because of tobacco use or foods that stain teeth, including red wine, coffee and black tea.

What can I eat when I whiten my teeth?

A white diet is ideal and coffee, red wine, tea, tobacco, etc. should be avoided.

How many times can I whiten my teeth?

Teeth can be whitened once a year. Remember, after a certain period of time you can repeat the process if your teeth are not as white as you would like after the first treatment. This is the safest and best way to proceed, provided the product is not too expensive.

How long does it last?

This depends on the product used and your lifestyle: your teeth will become stained more quickly if you smoke, regularly drink wine or other drinks that stain teeth, etc. There is no absolute and universal answer to this question, but if you are careful with your diet and oral hygiene and get your teeth whitened with a professional procedure, teeth will generally stay white for up to two years. However, most people don’t watch what they eat and drink.

I have sensitive teeth. Can I still get them whitened?

Yes, and there are a number of options available. You can use a desensitizing toothpaste for about a month to improve the issue. However, teeth sensitivity is likely to increase during or after treatment.