Tooth whitening: What is it and how is it done?

The Philips LED light, 'Zoom!', that we use in Vélez and Lozano

What exactly is tooth whitening?

Tooth whitening is a process by which, thanks to the application of certain products, the shade of the teeth is lightened to a greater or lesser extent. Specifically, the clinical products that are used in a whitening treatment are dental clinic and our approach to brightening patients' smiles and delivering long-lasting results are based on the hydrogen peroxideo o de carbamide in different concentrations.

Whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments because it is risk-free, uncomplicated and considered quite affordable for most patients in relation to the results it offers. In addition, it is a fairly straightforward process which requires very little time in the clinic and is completely non-invasive.

To use a simple but effective metaphor often applied by one of our doctors, teeth whitening would be comparable to cleaning your nails. This means several things: it is a process that restores the natural shade of your own teeth, and it does not do so at the cost of 'eroding' the enamel, as some people believe. In fact, contrary to popular belief, the dentine (the inner part of the tooth) is more yellowish than the more superficial side.

How is tooth whitening performed?

At Vélez y Lozano we apply what is often referred to as a '.combined teeth whiteningwhich consists of two phases: clinical y outpatient clinic.

  • The clinical tooth whitening is performed in the clinic, under the strict supervision of professionals and following their recommendations at all times. A product with a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide is used, which guarantees fast and effective results, and is activated and 'fixed' to the pore of the tooth when exposed to the well-known blue LED lights. Contrary to what many patients believe, the light itself does not have any effect on our teeth, but serves to activate the product, which is what lightens them. At Vélez y Lozano we use blue LED light. Philips Zoomwhich offers unbeatable results.
  • The outpatient tooth whitening is, on the other hand, the one that is subsequently carried out at the patient's home. The patient is given splints with the size of their mouth, so that they fit perfectly, and they are given syringes of a product that must always be applied following the recommendations and warnings of the professionals who have carried out the treatment. This last part is very important, which is why it is necessary to visit a dental clinic, as excessive use of the product can cause dental sensitivity problems and use of less than the recommended amount will give insufficient results.

Sometimes we come across patients who only want to have the in-clinic part applied. It is necessary to clarify that for a dental whitening to be really effective it must be carried out with its two complete phases. Although some centres offer them separately, a clinical whitening has a lower duration and effectiveness than if it is complemented with the at-home part. At Vélez y Lozano we only carry out treatments that are necessary for the patient and effective. So much so, that six weeks after completing your teeth whitening treatment, you will be provided with a 30 minute appointment with Patient Care to assess their satisfaction.

In addition, prior to bleaching, it is necessary to perform a clinical oral hygiene by a professional, so that not even the slightest trace of tartar or plaque remains to prevent the product from properly penetrating the tooth pore and thus having the maximum possible effect.

Can anyone have whitening?

Actually, yes and no. It is necessary to meet certain oral health requirements, but they are easy to achieve. Not having any serious problem, such as a cavity that requires a root canal, or a broken crown, is more than enough. To make sure of this at Vélez y Lozano we carry out a check-up - which is carried out by our expert dentists - to rule out any health problems that could pose a risk during whitening.

It should be noted that the current law does not allow bleaching for pregnant women and children under 18 years of age..

If your doubts have to do with sensitive gums or other similar concerns, don't worry, in our clinic we use a desensitising product during teeth whitening to prevent uncomfortable sensations from being generated in the neck of the teeth, a more sensitive area. We also protect your gums in two different ways. Firstly by distributing a special insulating protection in your mouth and then by applying a specific protective gel for these situations, so that the products for the enamel do not affect your gums in any way.

How long will my whitening last?

As with any treatment of this type, offering a specific figure or talking about 'guarantees' is not only dangerous, but also a practice that has little or nothing to do with the Dental Deontology that we follow at Vélez y Lozano and any self-respecting dental clinic. And the fact is that the effect of whitening is maintained over time. depending on habits of the patient and the type of tooth. Ideally, reminders should be made every 6 to 12 months with the applicable product from the syringes so that the lightening is maintained over time. Normally with only 5 days of nightly application - one syringe - we return to the desired colour.

Remove your mask without complexes this summer.

And why not use bleaching pastes?

This is another question that patients often ask in the clinic. The answer in this case is quite simple: because they are not effective. The compound used for teeth whitening (hydrogen peroxide) for clinical use is in a concentration of around 35 percent and the syringes that we deliver for outpatient use are between 12 and 16% in the vast majority of clinics (at Vélez y Lozano we usually deliver 16% if the patient does not report a high sensitivity, to ensure the best possible results), while the products that can be marketed without a prescription cannot, by law, exceed 0.1% of hydrogen peroxide. Considering the difference in concentration, it is quite evident that the effectiveness of these commercial products is practically null in terms of whitening and, in addition, they tend to have a high abrasive capacity in contrast to other toothpastes, which is why dental professionals do not recommend them.

Other myths about teeth whitening

Activated carbon

Some commercial products are incorporating the use of 'activated charcoal' as a method to whiten enamel and offer long-lasting results. However, there is no scientific study that proves its effectiveness in this regard. In fact, several dental associations have already warned about the abrasive properties of charcoal, which would have exactly the opposite effect: it would wear down the tooth, exposing the dentine and causing a more yellowish colour of the tooth, in addition to all the health disadvantages it may have.

Hydrogen peroxide or bicarbonate

It is one of the most widespread hoaxes about teeth whitening, perhaps because it is given a number of 'traditional medicine' or 'home remedy' qualities that tend to arouse the sympathies of a certain class of people. However, there is also no scientific evidence of its effectiveness.

In our Dental Clinic in Murcia we have launched a special promotion for the summer, valid until 23 July, with which you can have a dental check-up, oral hygiene and combined whitening in 1-3 days at a special reduced price.