Teeth whitening: more beautiful, whiter - but also healthy?

A bright smile, everybody wants to do that. By bleaching the teeth this desire can come within reach. The bleaching of teeth can be done with the help of strips that are simply stuck to the teeth, or by brushing the teeth with bleach. In this way, if you believe the advertisement - a clear before-after effect will be achieved. But: is whitening healthy or does it harm your teeth?

Why discolour teeth

There are very few people who have naturally white teeth by nature. In addition, tea, coffee, nicotine or red wine leave visible marks on our teeth. But it's not just stains and discoloration from the outside that make the teeth yellowish, even a thin tooth enamel lets the underlying dentin, the dentin with its yellowish color, shimmer through.

Enamel is the hardest tissue that the human body has to offer. It consists of tiny crystals, the so-called enamel prisms. Their color spectrum ranges from reddish to bluish gray. As the light bends against the prisms, the dazzling effect arises. By plaque and discoloration, however, just this effect is externally lost.

Internal discolouration is also very common: root fillings, medicines (such as the antibiotic tetracycline) or injuries to the tooth are among the most common causes that make the teeth disappear. In addition, dead teeth discolour gray over time as they are no longer nourished.

Teeth bleach with tape and gels

If you think about whitening your teeth, you should first be aware that the bleach that can be sold in the pharmacy or the drugstore is only effective if it is externally discolored. Almost all contain a whitening gel with hydrogen peroxide, which is either applied with a brush or placed in the form of adhesive tape over the teeth.

After application, oxygen radicals are formed which lighten the dyes in the enamel. The packs last for 14 days, during which time the teeth can be brightened by a few shades. This fairly inexpensive form of bleaching (between 15 and 30 euros depending on the product) lasts around six months.

The problem with adhesive strips is that only the area from the anterior teeth to the canines is reached. The underlying teeth can later look unsightly, as they remain dark. Unless you have quite even teeth, you will not always reach the whole tooth in this form of bleaching, which can lead to a spotty result.

Diagnosis by the dentist

Before a self-treatment of the teeth, a visit to the dentist is recommended in any case, because the teeth should be free of decay and tartar. Those who have gum problems may be sensitive to the remedies used to whiten teeth. Crowns and fillings or bridges can not be lightened.

Caution is especially important with plastic and amalgam fillings, as these may even discolour on contact with the bleaching gels. After all: Various scientific studies confirm that whitening of healthy, caries-free teeth enamel and dentin are not attacked.

Professional whitening

Only the dentist can determine exactly what type of discoloration it is. Most dentists offer professional teeth whitening. There are a variety of procedures, such as whitening the teeth with a splint: a bleach containing carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea, is applied to a specially prepared splint for the patient.

The rail is worn for a certain period of time by the hour or at night. In between, the condition of the teeth is controlled by the doctor. In addition, the dentist can also help with internal discoloration. For this purpose, the tooth must first be drilled out, then a bleaching agent is introduced into the tooth. This procedure sometimes has to be repeated several times. Since bleaching is considered a cosmetic treatment, the health insurance companies do not replace the costs. A professional whitening costs between 200 and 500 euros.

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