We all want our teeth look beautiful and pearly white, but this has also led us to taking overly ambitious measures that are not proven to be effective, and in many cases can be harmful. Let’s start with the natural colour of human teeth.
The natural colour of teeth varies from person to person. Natural shades of teeth are grouped into four families:
- Auburn or reddish brown
- Gray reddish
White, a colour that is not natural for teeth
Hoping to have completely white natural teeth is an impossible dream, no offence to those who think their favourite magazine stars have teeth as white as their dentist’s lab coat!
Several factors can influence the colour of a person’s teeth. The main factors are listed below.
- The natural colour of teeth varies with age
- Use of tobacco
- Consumption of drinks and colourful foods
- Oral habits
- Some medicines
- Indirect factors
How does teeth whitening work?
The agents of teeth whitening act on the surface of the tooth, i.e. enamel and dentin which is located under the enamel. It cannot reach the pulp which is found in the inner part of the tooth because it cannot have any effect on the pulp.
The most common products used in teeth whitening treatment are:
- Urea peroxide.
- Hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide)
The peroxide attacks the discoloured molecules accumulated on the enamel and dentine and breaks them with the oxygen that it holds.
A chemical reaction of these products brightens teeth to one or more shades. Because of the porous surface, the peroxide can break the bonds that hold the stubborn stains to the teeth.
Bleaching supervision is necessary
The bleaching effect completely depends on the concentration of the whitening product used. The higher the concentration, the more effective the whitening product will be.
A dentist is also responsible for the process of dental lightening when the concentration of the whitening agent surpasses a certain percentage. The duration of teeth whitening treatment also depends on the shade of the teeth, for example, the darker the colour, the longer it takes to brighten them.
What to know before starting teeth whitening treatment
Regardless of the method used, a person willing to brighten their teeth, even with over-the-counter bleaching products, must consult their dentist beforehand.
In some cases, teeth whitening can make an evident difference to the smile of a person. On the other hand, in some cases, the results can be unsatisfactory, because of the nature of the stains on the teeth. One should also keep in mind that in some cases, the whitening materials can cause burns in the gingival tissue and even lead to tooth death if they reach the inner tissue.