IMPORTANT: Aimed at the general public, the Bücco Guide is a general educational guide. Its content presents some of the most common dental practices. However, there are many approaches and philosophies in dentistry and your dentist / specialist will be able to advise you on what he believes to be the most appropriate for your oral health. Do not hesitate to consult a dentist / specialist for more information.
Teeth whitening: the different techniques to obtain a bright smile
The natural shade of teeth differs greatly from one person to another. Some people have more yellowish teeth, others have more greyish teeth. External factors also influence tooth colour. These include the regular consumption of dark drinks and foods such as coffee, tea, red wine and beets. Smoking also has a significant influence on tooth shade; over time, smokers will see their teeth become more yellow. Age also causes tooth colour to vary. As we age, the enamel (the outer layer that covers the tooth) becomes thinner and allows the dentin, which is naturally more yellowish, to show through.
Many people want whiter teeth, like the immaculate smiles of many advertising campaigns. A brightly white smile has become synonymous with success in our company. Although various techniques exist to brighten teeth, it is important to keep realistic expectations in mind that advertisers have digital tools to represent smiles that have very little to do with reality. Nature is more nuanced and, above all, it is not perfect. That’s what makes it so beautiful. It is therefore important to be aware of the limitations of tooth whitening. While the techniques offered in the clinic are nowadays very effective, they cannot, however, whiten teeth beyond their natural colour.
Here are the different techniques that exist to lighten teeth:
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Three techniques are generally offered by oral health professionals to whiten teeth. The first, the gutters, is done at home after consultation with the dentist, while the other two, chair whitening and internal whitening, are done at the dental clinic.
These are custom-made shells made in the dental office, which are then given to the patient, along with a whitening kit. The gutters contain a whitening solution that gradually brightens the colour of the teeth. They must be worn as prescribed by the dentist. The results are normally visible after a few days.
This technique usually requires one or two visits to the dental clinic. A whitening agent is applied to the teeth and then activated with a specialized light. Gutters can then be given to the patient to adjust the final shade.
This whitening technique is used for teeth that have been devitalized, i. e. that have received root canal treatment and have consequently developed a more greyish shade. It is also a technique that can be used on a tooth that has been impacted. The whitening agent is then injected into the inside of the tooth. Two appointments are normally required.
There are also whitening products sold in pharmacies. It is strongly recommended to consult your dentist before starting such treatment. Also, in order to optimize the results, a complete examination, accompanied by cleaning, will certainly be beneficial insofar as the removal of plaque, performed at the clinic, will allow the whitening product to adhere more easily to the enamel.
There are many over-the-counter whitening products: whitening kits, toothpastes, chewing gums, whitening mouthwashes, etc. While these products are, for the most part, less expensive than treatments offered in clinics, they must be used more frequently to achieve a result similar to that obtained with professional bleaching, particularly because of the lower concentration of active agent. Finally, in order to achieve the desired result, the money spent on home treatment will be easily comparable to that spent on chair bleaching.
In closing, it is important to remember that the results obtained with whitening are always temporary and that they vary according to lifestyle habits. A healthy diet, containing fewer beverages and coloured foods, as well as avoiding any tobacco products such as cigarettes will help you keep your white teeth white longer.
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