When you require dental services, besides the usual solutions dentists offer, such as dental cleaning and fillings, they now provide cosmetic dentistry to patients wanting a more beautiful smile. In fact, one of the most sought-after procedures is teeth whitening and teeth bleaching.
However, even if the two services are known for removing deep-set stains on the teeth, they vary in some ways. But how do they differ from each other?
Teeth Whitening vs. Teeth Bleaching
Teeth whitening is any process that aims to make teeth whiter than how they naturally are. From the umbrella term, it branches out to bleaching and non-bleaching whitening procedures. The term “whitening” is any product that removes food or debris from the teeth without using bleach. Meanwhile, “bleaching” is any procedure that requires any bleaching product to whiten the teeth as well.
Bleaching products may contain peroxide, either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Both products are effective and safe compounds that remove surface and deep stains on teeth, causing them to appear brighter and lighter than their natural shade. Teeth whitening or bleaching is an affordable procedure for those who want to say goodbye to embarrassing, unsightly stains.
Why Consider Whitening or Bleaching?
Choosing to get cosmetic treatments done on a patient’s teeth is often driven by preference. There are various reasons why people opt for these procedures—some would like to improve their appearance, others would like to make the best first impression. Take note that you should only get teeth treatments done if you require them.
Common Causes of Teeth Discoloration
A patient’s lifestyle plays an integral role in understanding why their teeth are discolored. The most common causes of teeth discoloration are excessive smoking, constantly drinking tea, coffee, red wine, taking some medications, poor dental hygiene, and sometimes physical injuries to the mouth.
The causes of discoloration are divided into three types—intrinsic, extrinsic, and age-related. Intrinsic staining is the manifestation of a darker or more yellow inner structure of the tooth, often following the yellowing or darkening of dentin.
Meanwhile, extrinsic discoloration is the staining of the outer layer of the tooth by some food and beverage items. Lastly, age-related discoloration occurs due to age and is often a sign of having a thinner enamel.
Best Candidates for Teeth Whitening or Bleaching
Although teeth whitening and bleaching are effective methods to combat discoloration, they are not for everyone. Only patients with mild to moderate discoloration are ideal candidates for the treatment. There are specific cases where the products can’t correct discoloration or may take a bit of the problem but not all the way.
Most of the time, yellow teeth lift better than brown teeth. Although brown teeth can still whiten, they will not reach the potential shade achieved by the yellowish teeth only. Meanwhile, teeth with a greyish tone, white spots, or discoloration caused by a dead tooth may not lift at all.
Lastly, before seeking a whitening treatment from your dentist, make sure you don't have sensitive teeth, worn out enamel, or have bruxism or have a habit of grinding or gnashing your teeth. Unfortunately, the procedure may worsen your disorder.
Both teeth whitening and bleaching are effective solutions for teeth discoloration. Before choosing which procedure works best for you, consult your dentist first and ask their opinion on which one works best for your teeth and their current condition. Also, try to think of how white you’d want your teeth to be before the procedure. Finally, keep in mind that no matter which of the two methods of teeth whitening you’ll choose, the effects will not last forever. Again, the patient’s lifestyle will dictate how long the procedure will take effect. Regular maintenance and a change of lifestyle may be necessary for long-lasting results.
Davis Dental Center is a Louisville-based dental clinic specializing in family dentistry. Besides oral cleaning, filling, and the usual dental procedures done in-office, we also provide cosmetic dental procedures, such as veneer fittings and teeth whitening. Schedule an appointment through our website today or drop by our office anytime!