The most common procedure at dentists everywhere is tooth whitening. The vast majority of Hollywood Stars, as well as models and Instagram Influencers, bypass tooth whitening procedures and go straight to veneers, porcelain veneers, which may cost $1,000 or more to add these overlays over their teeth. Like veneers or not, the Hollywood and modeling sets have established a firm archetype for the rest of us: pearly white teeth are attractive and sexy, yellow teeth are not.
However, most people are hardly in a position to create perfect, cosmetic smiles, and so choose to go for the process of whitening their teeth.
Why Do Teeth Get Yellow in The First Place?
Before we discuss teeth whitening, it's important to understand how teeth become yellow in the first place.
There are five main reasons:
- The primary reason: is that the outer layer of the teeth, the enamel whiteish in color. Beneath the enamel is a layer of dentin that is yellow or brown in color. So as we chew over the years, gradually the enamel gets worn down and more of the dentin color shows through.
- Aging: Genetic factors together with family history tend to show the amount of dentin in the teeth as people age, also causing yellowing.
- Diet: is a also big factor in staining teeth. People who drink tea, coffee, drink soft drinks, drink red wine, eat a lot of fruit juices, ingest curry, eat a lot of berries or balsamic vinegar and soy sauce tend to get stained teeth. The best advice is to either brush your teeth immediately after eating or if that is not possible, at least drink water or chew gum containing xylitol is recommended.
- Certain Medications: can also stain teeth. Antihistamines, high blood pressure medication, and antipsychotic drugs are all known to cause teeth staining. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also affect teeth.
- Trauma: from being hit in the mouth may cause more dentin to be released, staining the teeth.
How Did Dentists Clean Yellow Teeth in the Past?
Now that we understand why teeth gradually yellow, we can discuss how dentists cleaned yellow teeth in the past. The procedure then was not too much different from today, using a bleacher, typically hydrogen peroxide, and then accelerating the bleaching effect with an Ultraviolet Light. However, in the last years, there has been considerable concern about how UV light can cause the mutation of cells, particularly in the mouth.
As a result, most dentists now use LED lights for their teeth whitening procedures.
What Happens When a Dentist Whitens Your Teeth?
In-office bleaching is a procedure that generally requires only one office visit. The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or use a rubber shield to protect your gums. Then a combination of hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide, or both is then applied to your teeth.
Note that the peroxide paste does most of the work, but the LED light (frequently termed simply the blue light) accelerates the whitening procedure. Also note that because the peroxide paste is being administered by trained professionals, it is significantly stronger than the pastes available through home teeth whitening procedures. Tooth whitening at a dentist is fairly effective for most people, assuming you have the right kind of teeth.
Yellow teeth brighten up significantly while brown teeth don't respond so well, and if you have grey teeth, no amount of bleaching will take care of it. Also, you can't do bleaching on veneers, crowns, or fillings. The reason many people hesitate to go to the dentist for chairside bleaching is the cost.
Typically, a single chairside bleaching session will cost around $500 and is considered cosmetic, so even if you have dental insurance, that $500 comes out of your pocket. Still, thousands of people every year go to a dentist to get their teeth whitened, and often the results are dramatic, from 5 to seven, even as much as 12 shades different. A typical whitening session at the dentist is expected to last up to 2 years or more, and many people report results for several years.
Those who are smokers or who drink a lot of coffee or tee tend to see the most dramatic results.
LED Whitening at Home
With home whitening in such demand yet so expensive at the dentist, it was only natural that LED home whitening became popular at home. There was no indication that the LED blue light could cause any problems, either in developing mutations in tissues or retina problems. Dentists like to stress that their led whitening procedures use stronger levels of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, as much as 40 percent versus 10 percent for a home kit, but we found a significant amount of home led kits on America's most popular online shopping network with a 35 percent of either hydrogen peroxide or hydrogen carbamide, so we don't really see much difference.
And the cost. Typically between $35 to $50. Therefore, we highly recommend that people try a home whitening kit with a hydrogen paste, and an led light to accentuate the effectiveness of the paste.
Is LED Tooth Whitening Safe?
We would say yes, with a few cautions. Be extremely careful not to get the bleach/paste onto your gums, as they will more than likely be quite sensitive in reacting to the bleach. Another possible side effect of LED tooth whitening can be that your teeth develop sensitivity.
This is usually a temporary side effect, but for a couple of weeks you may need to buy toothpaste for sensitive teeth, and you might need to buy a softer bristle toothbrush. The biggest problem is possible to damage from overuse. Dentists recommend in-office bleaching no more than once per year.
There is a tendency if you buy an at-home whitening kit to do a treatment once a month or more. To do home whitening treatments so often you risk inflamed or bleeding gums, near-permanent rather than temporary tooth sensitivity, and see-through or blue edges on your teeth indicating the enamel is being eroded. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Lower strength hydrogen paste solutions may enable you to use your at-home kit for up to 14 days at a time. If you buy a near dental quality kit, you may be restricted to once or twice before laying off for a minimum of 6 months. In addition, we would strongly recommend that you read reviews before purchasing any led whitening product.
These are people who have used the product, and if there are drawbacks to its use, or tips to enhance the results, this is where you will find them. Last, but not least, we would advise that you have a reasonable expectation as to the results. Your teeth did not just turn yellow overnight.
They gradually became that way. Bleaching your teeth will definitely improve your appearance in most cases unless you are taking medication or have trauma to your teeth that tend to stain them. However, the results, while dramatic, will not be totally instant.
What About Whitening Washes, Strips, Gels on Trays, and Paint-on Films for Home Use?
Many people like to start first with whitener strips or similar products in an attempt to whiten their teeth. While stips are better than nothing, don't expect more than perhaps a shade or two more, despite the rosy advertisements. If you want whiter teeth, go directly to LED Tooth Whitening, and then follow up with a concentrated program of reducing the damage from foods such as coffee, tee, berries, and smoking.