Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 31, 2022

4 Technologies Used For Teeth Whitening

The popularity of teeth whitening procedures stimulated the development of professional teeth whitening technologies and OTC (over-the-counter) products. Discoloration and dental staining can happen in various ways; thus, treatment for discoloration significantly depends on the type of discoloration.

There are several teeth whitening procedures, but not all of these are appropriate for everyone. Your dentist would have to examine your teeth first. And, if you live somewhere in the Malay Peninsula, looking for a teeth whitening dentist in Singapore shouldn’t be too difficult.

The Right Teeth Whitening Technology For You

Your teeth’s outer layer, the enamel, is the hardest substance in your body. It’s also vulnerable to stains. Beverages and certain foods can cause those unsightly stains on the enamel’s surface. The enamel is porous, and substances that cause staining can seep into those pores, which results in discoloration, which is referred to as ‘extrinsic discoloration,’ a superficial type of discoloration affecting the teeth’s outer layer.

Stains in the teeth’s inner layer, or the ‘dentin,’ are called ‘intrinsic discoloration.’ Although it’s beneath the enamel, dentin can also make a tooth look stained and discolored. Intrinsic stains are caused by several factors, like tooth wear. The enamel can wear off over time, becoming thinner and exposing the dentin underneath. This discoloration is also caused by oral injuries, overexposure to fluoride, genetics, and a result of using certain medications. 

Intrinsic teeth stains are more permanent and harder to treat. Extrinsic teeth stains, on the one hand, are cosmetic—they occur on the tooth’s outer layer. Proper oral hygiene might take care of these stains, but not always. For the more stubborn stains, modern dentists have several teeth whitening technologies in their arsenal to improve a person’s smile.

Technologies Used For Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is ideal for those who have a healthy set of teeth and gums. A dentist won’t perform a teeth-whitening procedure on a person who has gum disease. Unrestored teeth—teeth with no fillings—are also ideal.

Under the supervision of a professional, the procedures are safe, efficient, and effective. However, you have to consider a number of things, like lifestyle habits, cost, or choosing between in-office treatment and at-home treatment.

Below are some of the technologies that dentists use for teeth whitening:

1. Power Bleaching

Also known as laser teeth whitening, power bleaching uses a combination of gel and light. A bleaching gel, usually containing a percentage of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, is applied to each tooth.

The concentrations of these chemicals are deemed high enough that dentists will take special care to lessen their side effects. These side effects include tooth sensitivity and gum damage. To safeguard your gums and oral tissues, the dentist uses a rubber or tissue dam to isolate your teeth.

After the bleaching gel is applied, your teeth will be subjected to laser or UV (ultraviolet) light for about an hour or two, or until the shade you prefer has been reached. The light activates the peroxide in the bleaching gel, whitening the teeth. Halogen and light-emitting diode (LED) lights are also used to activate the bleaching gel.

The bleaching agent, activated by laser, UV light, or others, vaporizes the stain molecules in the teeth, leaving them as white as you want them to be. There are several proprietary power bleaching or laser teeth whitening technologies from which you can choose. Your dentist, after an examination, will recommend what’s best for you.

2. Mouthpiece Tray

This technology is an at-home teeth-whitening treatment supervised by a dentist. The dentist takes an impression of your teeth and makes a customized mouthpiece tray that precisely fits your teeth. With a customized mouthpiece tray, the contact between the whitening gel and your teeth is maximized. The customization also means minimized contact between your gums and the whitening gel. The whitening gel’s peroxide will depend on the treatment, but it’s usually between 10% to 38%.

On your next visit, bleaching gel will be applied to the tray, which you’ll wear daily. The duration can vary; some trays are worn from about 30 minutes to a few hours. You’ll probably wear the device for about a month.

Mouthpiece trays that include blue LED light are also sold OTC. However, trays sold OTC might not fit your teeth exactly. An inexact fit can result in bleaching gel leaking into your oral tissues. When that happens, gum and soft tissues will be affected.

3. Over-The-Counter Gels And Whitening Strips

Bleaching gels are applied directly to the teeth’s surface. Application is made twice daily using a small brush. You’ll probably do this for about two weeks. Whitening strips, on the other hand, are coated with bleaching gel, usually peroxide-based, and applied on the teeth for around 30 minutes, twice daily. Strips’ use also lasts for two weeks.

4. Teeth  Whitening Toothpaste And Rinses

This toothpaste contains chemical agents or special abrasives that can remove surface stains. However, it won’t cause excessive wear to your teeth. On the other hand, the toothpaste doesn’t contain bleach, so the whitening effect is minimal.

Rinses contain a small amount of hydrogen peroxide that helps whiten teeth. Rinses have to be swished around in your mouth for about 60 seconds. Rinsing is best done before brushing your teeth, twice daily. However, compared to other OTC remedies, rinses are less effective. Strips, for example, are in contact with your teeth for at least 30 minutes a day. Rinses are in your mouth for only two minutes a day. Results can take as long as three months to be noticeable.

Final Thoughts

Teeth-whitening technologies are some of the most popular dental cosmetic procedures. However, teeth whitening isn’t for everybody. You’d have to consult with your dentist to determine which ones are best suited to you.   

Author Bio

Jean Ross is a dental assistant who has been working in clinics for more than 10 years. She shares her knowledge about dental hygiene and technologies through guest posts. Jean also loves painting and cooking in her free time.

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