I have been contemplating on whitening my teeth for the longest time now. Once I said it out too loud and my Russian Language teacher overheard, and asked if I have seen the color of teeth around me, referring to my classmates…😂😂
On a more serious note, I have always wondered if there were any serious side effects. So I decided to talk to my hot dentist friend. (Hot cos I know he’ll read this)😉
This is what he said
One of the most frequent questions I get as a dentist since the craze for whiter teeth begun is “if teeth whitening ruins the teeth or not?”.
Well, let’s put it in perspective here. There is a lot of superstitions surrounding teeth whitening.
WHAT REALLY IS TEETH-WHITENING?
Basically, your teeth does not become more “white”, it simply becomes more translucent and glossy. Think of it as if you had a permanent lipstick, applied on your teeth. Tooth whitening just outlines the natural color, which is already there.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
There are tiny oxygen molecules activated by blue light or by the chemicals inside of the whitening gel, they penetrate through the enamel down to the dentin, and once they reach the dentin, they dissolve the pigments – I.e the large molecules that interacts with the gel.
Sounds pretty innocent so far, right?However, there are a few things you should be aware of. I’m sure from what your friends told you, it was not innocent at all. For them, it was extremely painful after the procedure for almost a week.
There is a reason for that.
- Active ingredient in the gel – oxygen.
- Firstly, oxygen is dry and tiny. That is why it can go down the structure so deeply.
- Secondly, oxygen dries out the liquor from the dentin. The side-effect of that, is oxygen could go down to the pulp chamber, where the nerve of a tooth is located, causing pain.
- For this reason you do not want to perform this procedure at home by yourself with some tool-kit bought on AliExpress, although it might sound like a fair deal.
You do not know your individual tooth structure, how penetrable your enamel and dentin is, thus, can not control the extent of activation and amount of gel to be applied. Just do it in a dental clinic and you’ll be fine. You still can try doing it at home, not gonna judge ya, but it’s like with your broken iphone. Sure, you can fix it at home, but better leave it to the pros.
If these chemicals are so harmless;
- why do dentists always prescribe remineralizing solutions or gels after the whitening procedure?
- Aren’t you(dentists) the ones who told us that it does not deform the enamel?
No dear! It does not. Re-mineralizing is for the same reasons you feel pain – your tooth is dried out after the whitening process.
What happens is that the micro-tubes which are in your enamel and dentin containing dental liquor is now empty and will need some time for your teeth to refill it again from the pulp. What else could go through that tubes? Air, while breathing, causing pain. Also the pigments after whitening, alters the color of your teeth even more than it was before the procedure.
WHAT TO AVOID AFTER TEETH WHITENING
It’s so imperative to stay away from all the things that can stain your new white teeth like red wine, coffee, cigarettes after the procedure, at-least for a while. That is also why we need re-mineralization to close up those tubes with minerals for a period of time, while the teeth is re-hydrating itself.
So I hope this helps, as I tried highlighting all the pros and cons regarding tooth whitening that you need to know.
- Yes, the procedure is harmless and relatively painless, if done properly under professional guidance and followed by proper maintenance.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask them below in the comment section.✏️