Teeth Whitening: Your Complete Guide


All of us desire to have pearl white teeth and attention-grabbing smile. People spend billions on teeth whitening products and services. Today, teeth whitening is in high demand by people who want a perfect smile. It is an effective procedure to whiten the teeth by removing the discoloration and stains on the teeth.

To Get to The Root of The Problem, Let Us Find Out the Reasons of Teeth Staining.

  1. Food and Drinks: Intense colour pigments present in tea, coffee, and red wine stains teeth and lead to loss of natural enamel.
  2. Use of Tobacco: Tar and nicotine found in tobacco stains teeth, develop cracks in the teeth and make them appear yellowish.
  3. Age: Dentin is a softer area present behind the outer teeth. As you grow older, brushing causes the outer surface to become thinner and thus the yellowish dentin starts appearing.
  4. Medications: Certain medications cause discoloration of teeth. Sometimes clinical therapies also cause damage to the teeth and make them appear dark.

Pellicle Film, the layer on top of the enamel, is where the discoloration takes place. Dentists clean this film through teeth whitening chemical agents or by scrapping it. Brushing teeth with whitening toothpastes can be an effective solution in certain cases.

How Does Teeth Whitening Take Place?

Chemical agents are used most of the times for teeth whitening; these are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These chemical agents break the stains into smaller parts and make them appear whiter and brighter.

Teeth Whitening Methods:

  1. Stain Removal Toothpastes – Toothpastes remove stains from the surface of the teeth and they gently polish them. These also contain the same chemicals as mentioned above, namely, carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. They do not change the color of your teeth but cleans it from the surface. These do not contain bleaching agents.
  2. Whitening Strips and Gels – Gels are transparent, and peroxide based, which should be applied with a brush on the teeth and their effect lasts for four months. Strips are thin and invisible and are coated with gels. Their effects also last for four months. The concentration of the chemical agents is less on the strips as compared to the chemicals used by the dentist.
  3. In-office whitening – It is an expensive and quick way to restore white teeth. It is also known as chairside bleaching and requires a visit to the dentist’s clinic. A special protective layer of whitening gel is applied along with heat and laser treatments. This ensures whiter teeth within 30 minutes. A protective layer is applied before applying the bleaching agent on the teeth.
  4. At-home bleaching – In this method, the dentists customizes a whitening routine for you. This is a slower process as compared to in-office bleaching but allows you to whiten your teeth at your home and at a desired pace. A tray is provided to the patient and the dentist prescribes the amount of bleaching solution to be used for a certain duration. 

Cases Where Teeth Whitening May Not Work:

  1. Age and pregnancy – Whitening is not preferred for pregnant women and children below the age of 16.
  2. Sensitive teeth and allergies – People allergic to peroxide should not go for whitening treatments. Certain people whose teeth are sensitive should abstain from these chemically loaded whitening methods.
  3. Darkly stained teeth – Whitening works for people with yellowish teeth and might not be effective for people with brown, purple, and grey cultured teeth.
  4. Gum diseases – A person with gum disease is discouraged from going for whitening because it may cause further damage to the gums. The disease should be treated before teeth whitening.

Teeth whitening is safe and effective. If you are using a kit, make sure that the instructions given on the whitening kits are followed. It is advised to whiten teeth after consulting an oral care expert. It is not permanent but offers whiter teeth for a period of year or so, if proper care is taken.