Dr Mani Rohela, dentist at A J Dental, explains why we don’t need to put up with unattractive teeth.
One of the more common ‘specialist’ toothpastes that we see advertised on TV these days is for teeth whitening. We will come back to this product a little later on, but for now it is safe to say that the reason they are so widely advertised is that this is something that many people want to achieve.
Tooth discolouration can happen for a number of reasons. External factors that contribute to staining the teeth include smoking, red wine and tea consumption (due to the tannin in them), and many other products that we regularly eat also have a discolouring effect.
Even without these food and drink products though, our teeth will gradually darken as we get older. This is largely due to the dentin layer, the one beneath the enamel, growing darker as we age. Anyone who has thinner enamel on their teeth will also find that this shows through more.
Do teeth whitening toothpastes work?
It might seem that using a teeth whitening toothpaste is a sensible approach to achieving whiter teeth. The reality is a little more complicated though. If we have surface staining on the enamel, any toothpaste should remove at least some of this. This is largely done through the abrasive contact between the bristles of the brush and the tooth enamel.
Some toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth do so by including additional abrasive elements and an example of this is charcoal toothpaste. This may help to remove some of the surface staining on the teeth, but it also risks eroding the enamel much faster. When this happens, we might not only find that our teeth become more sensitive, but are also at a higher risk of tooth decay due to there being less protective enamel on our teeth.
Unfortunately, this ‘abrasive’ approach will do nothing to lighten the inner part of the tooth and this can only be achieved through a bleaching type process. The professional teeth whitening procedure that we offer here at our Woking practice will do just that, safely and effectively. Whilst teeth whitening toothpastes may claim to whiten teeth in a similar way, there is a very important distinction between them.
Most teeth whitening toothpastes use either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide to ‘bleach’ the inner part of the teeth. This is similar to that used in the cosmetic dental treatment. The big difference though is in the quantities that are allowed to be used by law.
Because peroxides are potentially dangerous if swallowed, there is a very low legal limit on the amount allowed to be put into toothpaste. Anyone who has small children will fully understand why this is the case! Because of the small quantities allowed, any improvements that are made will be minimal, and to most people, probably almost unnoticeable. This does not mean that they have no use though. For example, if you have had your teeth professionally whitened, the results may last a little longer if you use this type of toothpaste, although you will eventually need to repeat the treatment as the dentin darkens again.
Professional teeth whitening
A few years ago, it was legal for high street boutiques to offer teeth whitening treatments. Due to some less than scrupulous operators though, who used whitening solutions far in excess of safe levels, this is now banned and you can only legally have your teeth whitened at a dental clinic by a qualified practitioner.
At the AJ Dental Group in Woking, all of our cosmetic dental team are fully trained and qualified and you can have this treatment perfectly safely. It is a non invasive treatment and is therefore suitable for nervous dental patients too.
The results of this fast acting method will see the whiteness of your teeth improve by up to eight shades and most patients who have this procedure are pleasantly surprised at the difference that this safe and effective procedure can achieve.
Although not widely experienced, it is only fair to acknowledge that whilst there are no serious side effects to this treatment, some people do find that their teeth have a heightened sensitivity for a short while following it. This is usually not significant though and the sensitivity typically only lasts for a few days before returning to normal shortly afterwards.
As with any dental treatment that you receive at our practice, we are always available should you have any questions or concerns following it.
If you would like to find out what we can do to help you have a nicer looking smile through our cosmetic dental procedures, please do give us a call on 01483 766355 0r 01932 352333.