Selçuk Mert Özçelik

Oral and Dental Health - Pedodontics

Teeth Whitening Treatment

The tooth whitening process performed by dentists is one of the whitening applications that gives relatively the best results in a short period of time. Although the tooth whitening process performed in outpatient clinics is not a complicated procedure, it requires attention and skill to avoid damage to the gingival area. The application of the tooth whitening process usually takes 60 to 90 minutes. You can read through the rest of the article to get detailed information about in which cases tooth whitening is applied, how it is done and whether it is harmful.

What is Tooth Whitening?

Teeth may change color over time depending on many factors. Tooth whitening is an effective procedure applied to people whose discoloration looks cosmetically disturbing. It is very important to pay attention to oral hygiene after this procedure, which is carried out under the conditions of the outpatient clinic upon referral to dentists, to keep the application effective.

In Which Cases Is Tooth whitening Applied?

Tooth discoloration can be caused by many different reasons. Discoloration of the outer part of the tooth may occur due to harmful habits such as food and beverage consumption or tobacco use. Coffee, tea, dyed products and smoking are some of the factors that can cause discoloration on the outer part of the tooth.

And discoloration in the inner part of the tooth can be seen after the use of various drugs. Factors such as childhood diseases, infections, traumas of the tooth area and aging are among the conditions that can cause discoloration in the inner part of the tooth.

Some of the cases in which the teeth are most affected cosmetically can be summarized as follows:

  • Aging
  • Genetic predisposition
  • The use of certain drugs, especially various types of antibiotics
  • Having harmful habits

Professional tooth whitening can be applied to people whose teeth  discolor for such reasons. People with dental implants or dental veneers cannot benefit from whitening applications. Tooth whitening is a procedure performed only on natural teeth. Therefore, it is recommended that you should consult your dentist and get information about which whitening method is most suitable for you after you decide on the tooth whitening process.  

How Is Tooth whitening Performed?

The tooth whitening process performed in outpatient clinics consists of several different steps:

  • Before the application, the patient's current tooth color is recorded.
  • Then, the plaque on the tooth is cleaned using a material made of a special stone.
  • Gauze is placed in the mouth and the mouth is kept dry. Retractors placed in the cheek area are useful for preventing damage to structures such as cheeks, lips and tongue.
  • The barrier placed on the gum prevents the solution from damaging this area.
  • The surface of the tooth is covered with a whitening solution. The chemical structure of this solution consists of either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
  • In order for the solution applied to the tooth surface to become active, energy sources such as light or laser are required.
  • When the maximum time is reached, the tooth is cleaned. The use of fluoride products at this stage may be beneficial in preventing tooth sensitivity, which is the most common side effect.

It is recommended not to consume pigmented foods and beverages within 24 hours after the application. Colored foods such as tea, coffee, tomato sauce, mustard, grapes, sugar and wine are among the foods and drinks recommended not to be consumed. It is also recommended to avoid smoking or using any tobacco product. 

Is Tooth Whitening Harmful?

The most common side effect after tooth whitening is temporary sensitivity in teeth. Gum and mouth irritation is another common side effect. This side effect is caused by the reaction that occurs especially in the use of hydrogen peroxide. Side effects such as sensitivity usually occur as a temporary effect of the chemicals used during the procedure. In some cases, the side effects may be more severe:

  • Gum burning and irritation are side effects that develop especially during procedures where the gums are not protected.
  • Some whitening may occur in the gums after the contact of whitening chemicals on the gums,
  • After ingestion of whitening products, complaints of burning in the throat and stomach may occur.

Although rare, some individuals may experience pain during or after bleaching. It is recommended to consult your dentist in the presence of complaints such as excessive sensitivity, pain and burning.

How Long Does Tooth Whitening Last For?

Tooth whitening, performed under outpatient clinic conditions can be effective for 1 to 3 years in individuals with good oral hygiene.  No matter which product is used for tooth whitening, each application will be effective for a certain period. It should be noted that this period is limited to only a few months for applications that can be made at home.

What Should Be Considered After Tooth Whitening?

Dietary habits and oral hygiene protection practices are the points to be considered in order to preserve the results obtained after tooth whitening. It should be noted that even after the completion of tooth whitening, the teeth may be affected by the consumption of tea, coffee, and various other foods. Cleaning the teeth after food and beverage consumption prevents the accumulation of substances that may cause color change caused by food on the tooth surface. Keeping the teeth clean and flossing them are not only protective against conditions such as decaying and gingivitis, but are also important in terms of preserving the color of the teeth. Some of the practices that can be done for the protection of dental hygiene are as follows:

  • Brushing teeth at least twice a day, particularly after meals
  • Brushing the teeth after consumption of food and drink that may stain the teeth
  • Waiting for half an hour before brushing teeth after consumption of acidic food and drink
  • Rinsing the mouth or chewing sugarless gum after food consumption
  • Adding whitening products to your daily teeth cleaning routine

Almost all foods have staining properties unless teeth are cleaned. Many different beverages, especially coffee, tea, red wine, grapefruit juice and carbonated drinks, can cause discoloration of the teeth. It is recommended that individuals who enjoy consuming such foods regularly brush their teeth, use dental floss, and gargle with oral cleaning solutions. Chewing gum is another practice that can increase the saliva secretion in the mouth, showing a cleansing effect. Various products that can be used within the knowledge and recommendation of dentists can be beneficial in slight discolorations. These products, which can be included in the daily oral hygiene routine, can be effective in removing stains on the teeth. In cases where the discoloration of the teeth is marked, it is possible to benefit from tooth whitening applications carried out in outpatient clinics by applying to healthcare institutions. Tooth whitening is a practice that can be performed both professionally in the outpatient clinics of dentists and at home with various products. It is possible to get the best result from this procedure by paying attention to the points that need attention before and after professional dental cleaning. It is quite natural for people who are actively interviewing in business life to be cosmetically disturbed by the discoloration of their tooth. In case of a discoloration of the teeth of those who comply with the necessary oral hygiene practices and have no problems with maintaining oral hygiene, professional tooth whitening can be applied under outpatient clinic conditions. You can get support from dentists who are expert in their field by applying to healthcare institutions to get information about whether this procedure is suitable for you.

* The Editorial Board of İsü Dent Hospital has contributed to the publication of this content.
* The contents on our website are for informational purposes only. Please consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment. The content of this page does not include information on medicinal health care at İsü Dent Hospital.