Bleaching, also called dental lightening in the oral environment, is an aesthetic practice which consists, as its name suggests, in lightening the color of your teeth and therefore restoring all its shine to your smile. Which techniques to favor? With an expert or at home? At what price ? We asked our questions to Dr. Christophe Lequart, dental surgeon and UFSBD spokesperson. To begin with, he insists on the importance of identifying the type of discoloration to which our teeth are prone before acting. Explanations.
Teeth whitening: knowing the difference between external and internal coloring
Your teeth have lost their color of yesteryear, your enamel is tarnished and your smile suffers… This may be linked to an internal staining phenomenon, in other words caused by the tooth itself. Scientists then speak of dental dyschromia. This anomaly occurs naturally with age and the passage of time. Like a physiological phenomenon, “the thickness of the enamel decreases and the dentin, a tissue that is underneath, tends to sclerose and becomes darker”, explains the expert. Another contributing factor: the devitalization of a tooth during the total removal of the nerve. Moreover, this unsightly effect can intensify with the external colorations, called surface, caused by our consumption habits such as that of tea, coffee or tobacco. If the expert insists on this aspect, it is because these two forms of coloring are not treated in the same way.
The various tooth whitening techniques
To whiten or lighten your teeth, multiple techniques are available to you depending on your dental color. Among them, moreover, slip some tricks. Zoom.
whiten your teeth at home
The specialist’s first tip for keeping the White teeth, it is possible to limit the installation of these surface stains by simply starting by drinking a glass of water or rinsing your mouth, and this, just after consuming your cup of tea or your mug of coffee. But the real ally of lighter teeth is undoubtedly the so-called whitening toothpaste. Often composed of baking soda, “this product coupled with an electric toothbrush promotes the scrubbing of stains and the reduction of yellowing of the tooth”, indicates the specialist. Other toothpastes can play on an optical effect like bluish products (invisible to the naked eye) which reflect light on your tooth and give the illusion of a whiter tooth. Still others color your gums, thus intensifying the contrast with your enamel. Note that the illusion is temporary and lasts only during the interval between two brushings. A last tip, and not least for your smile: using a lipstick in red tones would be more than favorable since it contrasts and therefore matches perfectly with your teeth. Exit therefore the pink and orange hues which would have the opposite effect.
Natural products to lighten teeth
So many “grandmother’s” tips are flourishing on the web, the dental surgeon remains cautious about the use of certain natural products. “We must 100% prohibit the use of lemon juice, especially if it is coupled with baking soda,” he explains. Indeed, this citrus fruit can lead to demineralization of the enamel which, once damaged, does not grow back. The duo would therefore have devastating consequences on your teeth. Moreover, the expert would tend to exclude from oral hygiene the powders of bicarbonate and coal (different from toothpastes that contain it). Indeed, instead of polishing the tooth, their excessively thick grains would have an abrasive effect on the enamel. Advice therefore: do not abuse these products and limit your consumption to once a month, no more!
What about smile bars and other whitening kits?
Another alternative has been hugely successful before losing popularity in recent years: smile bars, these aesthetic salons advocating low-cost dental whitening. “They did not keep their promise,” explains the expert. Hardly surprising when you know that the products they use (also available in pharmacies and parapharmacies, editor’s note) are very low in hydrogen peroxide concentration (0.1% against 6% in the office, editor’s note), the only product capable of whitening the tooth itself therefore to act on the internal coloration”. The instant whitening effect so much sought after by the followers of these institutes is then only temporary. We cannot, moreover, ignore their effectiveness on superfluous colorations. But for this, scaling or polishing is enough and these examinations are fully covered by health insurance.
When it comes to whitening kits, reviews are mixed. They contain the same levels of whitening product and act on the surface only. These techniques can also hold surprises. Indeed, you should know that hydrogen peroxide is only active on the natural tooth and does not act on ceramic crowns and other composite resins. After your teeth whitening, it will be necessary to redo them. In addition, it is essential to have a healthy mouth. We therefore advise you to seek the advice of a specialist before investing in your kit.
Teeth whitening at the dentist
To treat this delicate problem in depth, nothing better than a visit to the dentist. During the first appointment, the specialist begins by checking your oral health. It is necessary that you show no signs of cavities or gum disease before starting treatment. In this way, you ward off the dangers together. And for good reason, the hydrogen peroxide contained in the treatment, even at low doses, can by penetrating into a decayed tooth lead to a risk of mortification of this one. It can also increase the inflammation of gum disease.
This first visit can end with an obvious act, and not the least, the scaling and/or polishing of your teeth in order to eliminate surface stains before moving on to the dental whitening itself during a second date.
How does a session take place and at what price?
Today, and according to the new European standards, dental whitening is done on an outpatient basis. In the office, the dentist makes an impression of your teeth and thus forms gutters, like a mouthguard. Inside these, he applies a lightening product based on hydrogen peroxide. These gutters are worn daily for 3 to 8 hours depending on their product concentration. The treatment lasts from 2 to 4 weeks depending on the desired effects. The first results, on the other hand, are visible 2 to 3 days after the start of treatment. It is not impossible to do “a little booster shot” as the specialist points out after two years.
If the treatment does not work, which can happen for certain shades of teeth, two other techniques remain possible. As a first resort, micro-abrasion consists of roughening the tooth before going back to the outpatient whitening technique. As a last resort, it is possible to claim the prosthetic artifice. This technique consists of making dental veneers, thin films of ceramic to stick on the surface of the tooth to camouflage this thankless tint and give an illusion of whiteness.
To treat your dental dyschromia syndrome, it will take between 400 and 1000 euros depending on the technique used, the concentration of product and the duration of the treatment. A star smile that has a cost!