Whitening v/s Cleaning
Whitening is also known as bleaching and should not be mistaken as cleaning. Cleaning is a process which removes the tartar and external stains like coffee, tea, paan etc. It is a 15 min process. It may need multiple sittings depending upon the depth of the stains. To assist cleaning the dentists use a jet polisher to get the stains off more efficiently. It is recommended once every 6 months and once every 3 months for people with heavy tartar formation. After cleaning they apply fluoride as another layer of protection for the teeth.
Types of Whitening
Whitening on the other hand, is usually done once in 5 years and may need multiple sittings depending on how white you want the teeth.
There are 2 types of whitening: one is in-office or chair-site and the other is at-home, with the materials and apparatus supplied by the dentist compared to what’s available off the counter.
Off the counter materials are also available in the market and are very safe because the concentrations are low, and they don’t really work up to the mark. The margin of error is high as usage of these products is uncontrolled and unsupervised. Besides, they brighten the teeth and not whiten them.
Myths & Truths
As for whitening, no matter which method you apply, chair site or take home, the stains which are external are taken off by cleaning, which is normally done before whitening. Yellow teeth whiten to most. Brown teeth whiten lesser than yellow ones. Grey teeth only become brighter and they need much more advanced treatments like laminates to mask the colour. Pan or Tobacco stained teeth are damaged the most. The teeth have been worn out, the enamel is wiped away and it has made the teeth porous as well, damaging the teeth from inside. It becomes an intrinsic stain unlike the ones caused by tea or coffee.
Don’t try it at home
Though the dentist is not personally supervising your teeth while using the materials supplied by him, he is ensuring the compliance of your teeth by giving you the proper information and apparatus for the treatment since it can be harmful for your teeth if used wrongly.
Most of the whitening toothpaste will not contain peroxide, so any brand claiming their teeth whitening toothpaste to be free of peroxide, it’s false! Buyers should make a thorough research before buying such products.
Teeth whitening can be very expensive in certain cases. It’s a common human tendency to scrub the strong stains harder, be it a table or a cloth. Same applies to teeth as well; we tend to scrub our teeth harder in an attempt to make them whiter. This makes the teeth weaker, damages the gums and scrubs off the enamel. You also tend to push the gums away when you brush harder. Over a period of time more than half of your teeth may need whitening and if they are left unattended, may get damaged. Whitening makes sure that your teeth does not further disintegrate your teeth and repairs the existing overall damage.