"Tooth whiting is one of the most popularly requested dental procedures by the public. After all, very noticeable whitening benefits can be had with quick results and at reasonable costs."
And this is mostly true, tooth whitening, or bleaching, is safe and effective when properly done. Before you commit to your decision, to bleach or not to bleach, you should begin at your friendly neighborhood dentist shop for a session of questions and answers! Begin with a dental exam before your whitening treatment. It can find any problems that could lead to less than optimal results of your whitening experience, and establish rapport and trust with a team that can facilitate your journey towards a healthier and brighter smile! After an exam, a dentist can recommend an optimal protocol that will most likely produce the desired result with the least discomfort, with a lasting result in the shortest time! So dental patients do have options, but they will depend on which method of tooth whitening method is chosen, because whitening efficacy depends on the particular discoloration being treated, as not all stains respond equally to one technique only. For example, whitening protocols for yellow-darkened teeth typically use a form of hydrogen peroxide itself (H202) or water-activated carbamide peroxide that converts into hydrogen peroxide. The chemistry of peroxide bleaching reacts with double bonded carbon atoms in the chromogen, or stain, resulting in a lighter colored staining compound: Note that not all stains respond the same to peroxides and some stains are hardly touched by peroxide bleaches. For example, some stains are based on metallic compounds which are not very responsive to peroxide bleaches, and will produce a disappointing result with the peroxides, requiring other strategies to produce a uniform result. Also note that bleaches can damage white composite fillings, and that fillings will stand out against the whitened background of the bleached enamel, as the silicate color component of composite fillings is not affected by bleaches. Current evidence-based research also shows that chronic bleaching can soften and roughen enamel, so the potential danger is, the roughened and softened surface becomes more susceptible to stains, and teeth become more vulnerable to erosion and decay. Sensitivity is another reported issue with bleaching, showing up as tooth sensitivity to temperature and gum discomfort. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down into water and oxygen, and the liberated oxygen percolates up through the tooth and gum in a degassing process. This can be painful because of the released oxygen gas in the breakdown of H202, and gas pressure increases in your gum, and in the dental tubules inside your teeth--and it hurts! When bleaching is carefully done in a dentist office, the gums are protected with a masking material or a dental dam. Additionally, teeth are first conditioned with a bleaching desensitizer before the peroxide is applied to the tooth, so discomfort is minimized if not totally eliminated. One last comment on matters of bleaching success—please avoid foods or drinks that have staining compounds in them right after bleaching for about 48 hours. Your teeth are all nice and open after bleaching and the stain can go right back in, easy as blueberry pie! In summary, bleaching can produce a gratifying result but should be done under controlled and supervised conditions.