Author: MDDr. Bc. Nina Joklová | (29) | stomatogist | Bratislava
Dentists start with a thorough oral examination before making a final decision about recommending teeth whitening to a particular patient. Teeth whitening is only performed by experienced dentists as there is a significant risk of damaging the teeth by non-professional whitening with illegal concentrations. Naturally, tartar removal, perfect oral hygiene and any dental treatment necessary has to be carried out before starting the whitening process itself. Teeth whitening is performed in a dentist clinic using professional whitening systems. One of the favorite and often used systems is the Zoom system that removes color pigments and discolorations from the teeth by using light.
The whole process is finished in one visit and lasts about an hour. First step is the application of “liquid cofferdam” to protect the surrounding tissues in the mouth from burning. The material is spread over the gums around the teeth in a gel-like state. It solidifies after exposure to light and works as a protective barrier. The next step is to apply the bleaching gel on the teeth surface in 15-minute intervals, 3 times altogether, and expose it to light from the Zoom lamp. After bleaching, protective fluoride product is applied for enamel regeneration.
We recommend two months of disciplined eating after bleaching. The tooth surface is sensitive to colorations from food and drinks for quite a long time after whitening. To keep the desired effect it is necessary to avoid smoking, drinking tea, red wine, coffee, coke drinks, fruit juices, beetroot and some spices (curry, curcuma). Whitening gel will whiten the teeth, but it cannot bleach fillings and any prosthetic work (eg. onlays and crowns). It is necessary to change the fillings after bleaching to match their color to the newly whitened teeth.
Teeth whitening can be contraindicated. It is not performed on children, pregnant and breast-feeding women, patients with enamel defects or lots of caries, with low quality of dental hygiene and on people with periodontal diseases. Some patients can experience increased teeth sensitivity after whitening. It is necessary to calm the enamel and re-mineralize it with special toothpastes. Patients need to pay more attention to the whitened teeth and how they take care of them. Ideally, the best way is a combination of bleaching at a clinic with home whitening. At the clinic, trays will be made for the bleaching gel. Whitening at home takes 7 – 14 days until the desired effect is reached.
We can whiten our teeth by whitening toothpastes as well. My favorite is Opalescence Whitening Toothpaste. Unfortunately, the effect is considerably lower than with whitening at a dentist’s. Teeth whitening has its advocates and opponents. It is a fact that non-professional bleaching can cause increased sensitivity of teeth or even pain, sometimes enamel damage. Maximum allowed amount of hydrogen peroxide in whitening products cannot exceed 6% today. High concentrations, even up to 35%, are not used anymore. Teeth whitening, when indicated correctly by an expert and carried out according to all conditions is a safe and fast method of achieving that beautiful bright smile you have always dreamt about.