In accordance to the Food and Drug Administration, teeth bleaching is referred to the process of whitening the teeth well beyond its natural hue. Hence the term bleaching can be associated with products that literally contain bleach which in chemical terms is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
Bleaching can be done using the following techniques: bleaching strip, bleaching pen, laser treatment, gel bleaching, power bleaching or using natural home remedies.
How to distinguish between teeth bleaching and teeth whitening?
While bleaching can whiten the teeth beyond its natural hue, whitening can only restore a tooth’s natural color by simply eliminating the dirt accumulated on it. In this sense, tooth paste which we use regularly and can be considered as a tooth whitening agent. Though sometimes tooth bleaching agents are also referred to as tooth whitening agents.
How to bleach your teeth?
The peroxide content present in hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide enter into the enamel and bleach the stains deposited in the dentine region, thus giving an extra white effect to the teeth. The whitening brought about by bleaching may last for a good no. of months though its effect may vary with varying lifestyles. Smoking, intake of excessive caffeine present in coffee, red wine and consumption of other dark pigments can decrease the whitening effect.
Internal bleaching is recommended in case of staining of the dentine region leading to discoloration of the teeth completely inside out.
What are the after effects of bleaching?
The down side of using teeth bleaching agents:
- Gel bleaching with concentrated oxidizing agent can damage the exposed tissues and discolor the mucous membrane further leading to chemical burns.
- Excessive bleaching (refers to those products that promise a significant change in the color of teeth in a very short span of time) is considered to be harmful.
- In case you have sensitive teeth avoid bleaching as it can cause severe damage to the tooth enamel.
- Bleaching can often make your teeth sensitive to hot or cold.
- On bleaching you run the risk of developing cancer of the tongue.
- Studies have shown that using bleaching agents with high concentrations of peroxide can lead to irritation in the gums though it is known to persist for about 3-4 days.
- Bleaching should never be tried by children below the age of 16 since the pulp region of the tooth is large until this age. Under such conditions if bleaching agents are used it can increase the sensitivity of the pulp causing irritation. Besides bleaching is not recommended for lactating and pregnant women.
- As approved by the FDA, bleaching agents that contain less than 6% hydrogen peroxide or less than 16% carbamide peroxide are safe to use.
Upon using teeth bleaching agents, you may be delightful about the significant change in the hue of your teeth but the results may vary from person to person. Before you embark on your journey to whiten your chicklets check with your dentist. Considering your past medical history he could confirm if bleaching agents are safe for you.