Keeping your teeth white is usually synonymous with their being healthy and strong. Although this condition also has an important aesthetic component that is favoring that, especially in recent years, there are more and more people interested in whitening their smiles.
Whitening or lightening?
In general, tooth enamel may show some type of stain or have slightly darkened its natural color due to the effect of tobacco or from frequently drinking tea, coffee, or cola and foods such as chocolate, carrots, tomatoes – natural or in sauce- or spices such as curry or saffron, as well as vitamin complexes high in iron.
Based on this circumstance, dentists consider it essential to distinguish two concepts that tend to be confused:
- Rinse: The mouth should be thoroughly cleaned, using the appropriate techniques, to restore the teeth to their natural color. A color that will not always be absolute white, since each person presents a different original tone in an enamel.
- Whitening: Current procedures are based on the use of products that penetrate the enamel to completely whiten the dentin, the dental layer that is located underneath and that gives a slight yellowish color to each piece.
- With laser: It is, today, the most effective method since it allows reaching up to 70% dental whitening. In addition, and as specified by professionals, it stands as the least harmful, provided it is applied correctly. The laser stimulates the dental pulp, which is revitalized and made more transparent, which improves the visual effect of whitening. Normally, it is convenient to complete the treatment at home by applying a lightning gel with a splint for the time indicated by the dentist.
- Porcelain veneers: They are applied in extreme cases in which the rest of the treatments are ineffective or when it is also necessary to aesthetically correct other types of defects such as, for example, an irregular size of the pieces. It consists of the adhesion, in two sessions, of very thin porcelain sheets on the teeth.
In any case, these are treatments that are contraindicated in case of dental hypersensitivity, untreated cavities, gingivitis or some type of periodontal disease, or loss of enamel.
And, likewise, and to improve the effectiveness of whitening –which usually lasts between 3 and 4 years- the specialists always recommend maintaining good oral hygiene and not overusing those foods or drinks that tend to stain the enamel.
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