We all want ridiculously white teeth. Unfortunately we cannot all have it. Just like people were created with different complexions and even different shades within the same negroid race, so are our teeth made with different shades of white.

There are obviously some factors that make the natural shade of the teeth appear darker. With age comes the accumulation of more stains and so the teeth look darker in many older individuals when compared to younger folk. Smokers and heavy tea/coffee drinkers also tend to have more accumulation of stains and hence darker teeth. Also, some congenital defects (problems that happen when you were still growing in mama’s womb or when you were a baby) can cause the teeth to come out looking darker and even deformed. There is also staining due to Tetracycline use as a baby or Flourosis (excessive flouride in the water supply can permanently discolor the teeth in children).

In many situations, people wanting whiter teeth will benefit greatly from just Scaling and Polishing. When there are a lot of stains or dirt on the teeth, they of course look whiter when said stains and dirt are removed.

To artificially whiten the teeth from its natural shade, you have to do whitening or bleaching. Whitening systems come in various types:
1. In-Office whitening – In the Dental Clinic
2. Supervised Take-Home kits – Done at home with Dentist’s instructions
3. Over-the-counter kits – Purchased and used without supervision

The in-office system yields instant results within a session or two (either with or without an accelerator LED or Laser light source) and is performed by an experienced Dentist or Dental Therapist.

Supervised Take-Home kits are systems in which the patient takes home the whitening gel and a special tray (fabricated by the dentist/dental technologist or preformed with the whitening system) with instructions on how to use them. It is used for a set amount of time each day for several days. Results are slower but great if used properly.

Over-the-counter kits are sold in some pharmacies and stores and are generally used without supervision from a dental practitioner. They are usually frowned upon because they may potentially cause damage to the teeth due to unsupervised use, especially the ones with peroxide bases. There are however a few brands of note without peroxide as base which are safe if not used indefinitely or extensively.

The two main unwanted effects to whitening are:
1. Sensitivity: usually passes within a few days, rarely may last for longer. This is the main side effect and is unique to peroxide agents (note that most bleaching agents are peroxide based)
2. Reversion to original starting shade: this happens over time and how quickly it happens depends largely on habits and diet. High fatty diets, smoking and coffee intake tend to make the teeth revert to their original shade more quickly than if these were avoided.

If supervised and you feel you need it then why not? Where available, pick an agent that does not have a peroxide base so that the process is comfortable for you. Also get a Scaling and Polishing session done first so that your teeth are clean and the real shade is out; in some cases you may realize you do not actually need whitening after this is done.

BLANCHE DENTAL CLINIC offers professional teeth whitening services. Either in-office or take-home, we guarantee the best results available. And we are the only ones in Nigeria that can do this without the unwanted side effect of Sensitivity. Book an appointment today!


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