TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES IN THE LAST DECADE HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF DIFFERENT AREAS OF HEALTH. DENTISTRY IS NO EXCEPTION TO THE RULE, FROM PROSTHETICS TO AESTHETICS. IN THE LATTER, DENTAL BLEACHING, MORE FAMILIARLY CALLED TOOTH OR TEETH WHITENING IS ALL THE CRAZE, AND HERE IT IS EXPLAINED.
By Dr. Viviana Waich
We have gone from computers to tablets in the same way that we, in the field of dentistry, currently perform a root canal on a single appointment instead of 3 or 4 appointments as was done before. Dental implants have managed to replace the fixed bridges, which required the need to wear down healthy teeth to replace the lost ones, or worse, the use of removable dentures that were anchored to neighboring teeth with metal hooks, which was very unaesthetic, often uncomfortable and poorly retentive, and which a simple sneeze could remove from the oral cavity.
All these developments have emphasized highlighting the beauty and harmony of an ideal smile. Society is increasingly demanding in terms of the physical appearance and health of patients, starting with proper nutrition and fitness. The door to these requirements begin in the oral cavity, which according to our demanding current culture, must show the aesthetic representation in a suitable color, shape and smile line. Dental whitening is an essential part in this process, to the point that even in malls we see beauticians perform such treatments, of course, without any dental supervision.
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic treatment that works by decreasing various shades of teeth color. Social media has become increasingly more emphatic on stating that success and triumph are associated with a perfect smile and extremely white teeth, to the point that what was considered a white tone before is already being considered dark for many. For example, a couple of weeks ago I had a patient who came from California with previous dental work. When choosing colors for his new crown, we had to use a special guide called “whitening guide,” because the color guide that we had used for years did not include such whites as to satisfy the aesthetic demands of this patient. Currently, we have more advanced guides in which we can find an infinite number of tones to meet most of these needs.
There are different ways to improve the color of teeth, from the simplest such as dental whitening to more advanced situations such as generalized internal spots, which require something more than just whitening, such as venners, or ultimately full dental crowns. Tooth whitening consist in applying a chemical (e.g. carbamide peroxide in multiple concentrations), which is externally applied to the tooth surface for a specified time. Commercial whitening is found in supermarkets and shopping centers. These are with low concentrations of whitening chemicals and without dental supervision. There is also the home whitenings, day or night, prescribed by the dentist. These have a higher percentage of whitening chemicals and should be used for about two weeks. Finally, we have the office whitening, performed in a single session and which has an immediate and impacting result. One of the biggest concerns is the sensitivity after and during the whitening process, which is why it is suggested it be carried out under the supervision of a dentist because there are strict procedures to follow previous to treatment, such as toothpastes with high concentrations of fluoride, specialized mouth washes, and gels that should be applied to the surface of the teeth prior to treatment for best results. In addition, it is imperative that a dental cleaning be performed before this type of treatment. Patients with dental crowns, tooth bridges, and fillings (resins/composites) should understand that these do not change color, and if they want to have these aesthetic works done on them they should have these prostheses changed in order to obtain a homogeneous color.
Eating and drinking habits such as coffee, tea, wine, tomato sauce, chocolates, and dark sodas in general, habits such as tooth grinding (bruxism), genetics, and age are factors that contribute to determining teeth color. The need for dental checkups every six months should be absolutely clear to all, so if you are interested in this type of aesthetic work, ask your dentist in your next checkup.