15 May 2023

Teeth discoloration and whitening (part II)

Now that we know what can cause discolourations, the time has come to discuss the long-awaited topic that's the patients' favourite – teeth whitening.



Firstly, let’s pause for a moment and consider some cautionary measures. When shouldn’t we go on with the procedure?


❌ when the patient is very young – as a general rule, whitening is a procedure reserved for adults


❌ when our teeth have some untreated mechanical damage – in such a case, the whitening agent can harm the tissues, in particular the pulp with its system of nerves and vessels


❌ when we have caries – for reasons similar to the above-mentioned


❌ when we struggle with significant tooth sensitivity – as it often happens, after whitening such ailments may intensify


❌ when we have larger fillings or other types of reconstructions in our front teeth – remember that during the whitening procedure, fillings do not change their colour; consequently, after whitening they can look significantly darker than your “new” smile


❌ if our oral hygiene is unsatisfactory or we suffer from gum inflammations – as it may lead to significant irritation (and even damage) of the exposed tissues


❌ when we're allergic or hypersensitive to any of the ingredients used in whitening agents


❌ when a patient in question is currently pregnant or breastfeeding


❌ during treatments based on certain medications (e.g. psychotropic, cytostatics).




If all of these restrictions (no longer) apply to us, we can now consider what type of whitening is the most suitable. Let’s look at the...


...professional one-session whitening during the visit in your dentist's office.

Firstly, the teeth are covered with whitening gel (usually containing hydrogen peroxide).


Then, the most important piece of a puzzle comes into play – a special lamp emitting intense blue light (a wavelength around 500 nanometres). The method allows one to achieve significant results in a relatively short time.



...professionally prepared teeth whitening kits: trays to be filled with dedicated gel at home.


This method usually requires two visits. During the first one, dental impressions are taken and then, on their basis, individual thermoplastic trays are made. During the second visit, we can pick up both the trays and the whitening agent – and learn how to use them.


To whiten your teeth, the trays need to be worn at home, according to your dentist’s instructions. Depending on the manufacturer of the agents, the time for wearing will be adjusted; it’s usually around a few hours repeated over a course of a couple of days (or more precisely: nights, for it is the usual time for the procedure to be carried out).



Of course, we can also opt for non-professional/OTC whitening products. These come in strips, gels or other ready-to-use formulas.

Yet it’s worth considering whether trying this type of teeth whitening is indeed a good solution or not necessarily so.

Products that are easily available are usually very mild – so that they can be used without medical supervision. However, the very same quality makes them less effective.

At the same time, trying to buy and use a strong agent without any medical supervision can lead to serious health and aesthetic damage.



It leads to the conclusion that with numerous possible complications and subtleties of teeth whitening conditions and variables, professional methods are the path to the safest and most effective results. 🦷✨

All the more, it is highly advisable to visit the doctor and discuss your own individual needs and indications. You can also ask about the all-important post-treatment procedures, which include temporary diet restrictions.




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