A person doesn’t look very presentable with stained or discoloured teeth, although his or her dress décor is ok. This fact holds especially true for those in the public eye. Singers, actors, MCs, all need to have a good set of ivories to flash.

Ways teeth become discoloured

There are lots of reasons why teeth are stained or discoloured.

Teeth can become discoloured in two main ways:

Extrinsic discolouration – this is when discolouration happens on the outside. Certain foods, drinks or smoking habits can stain your teeth.

For example, tea, coffee, red wine, heavily coloured foods and tobacco can cause to extrinsic discolouration.

Extrinsic discolouration can be treated with whitening toothpastes. These toothpastes target stains on the tooth surface (external).

Intrinsic discolouration – discolouration happens from within the teeth. Aging, certain medication, strong antibiotics, illness, and tooth trauma cause intrinsic discolouration.

Professional bleaching is the preferable method to treat intrinsic discolouration to get whiter teeth.

Your dentist will be able to advice you on the suitable treatment option based on whether you have extrinsic or intrinsic discolouration.

Teeth whitening options

Options come from three general categories of teeth whitening methods:

  • Professional teeth whitening treatment
  • treatment dispensed by your dentist to use at home
  • OTC (over the counter) or DIY (do it yourself) treatments without the supervision of your dentist

Other important factors must also be considered before choosing an option, which will include:

  • whether it is extrinsic or intrinsic discolouration
  • treatment cost involved
  • age (this is related to children)
  • dental history (fillings and crowns will affect treatment)
  • time factor (how long treatment will take)

Readers are advised to discuss treatment options with a dentist before proceeding.

While professional treatment and home treatment dispensed by your dentist are relatively safe, do take precautions when trying OTC and DIY methods.

OTC whitening products do not contain or contain very little carbamide peroxide. Only certified dentists are allowed to work with this chemical. For intrinsic discolouration, OTC teeth whiteners may not be effective or take longer to work.

Whitening strips contain less hydrogen peroxide (a bleaching agent) than professional products. They can be applied once or twice a day to your teeth. Follow the product’s instructions carefully.

DIY methods

Using activated charcoal is one treatment method. This method has not been scientifically proven to work and may damage your teeth. Consult your dentist first before trying out activated charcoal.

Are there side effects?

Most teeth whitening treatments are safe to use, as long as you follow the directions stated on the label. Do bear in mind there are some side effects as well, which include:

Irritated gums – this happens when your gums come into contact with the whitening chemical. However, this should stop when you complete your treatment.

Tooth sensitivity – again, this may happen when the teeth come into contact with the whitening chemical. Your dentist may prescribe a soothing gel to use until the sensitivity diminishes.

Is the treatment effect permanent?

Discoloured teeth cannot be whitened permanently. Treatments will have to be done routinely depending on the discolouration.

A person can maintain the treatment effects longer by practising good dental hygiene. Brushing or rinsing out your mouth soon after eating, drinking or smoking, can keep your teeth whiter for a longer period of time. This also decreases plaque build-up.

To conclude: Teeth whitening is considered safe as long as you follow dentist-approved methods. Be sure to use the suitable methods for extrinsic or intrinsic discolouration.

This article is meant to provide our readers some inside into teeth whitening, and should not be taken as medical advice. Readers should consult a dentist for proper dental advice on this topic.


By Aaron
14th October 2020 22:30

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