The limits Of Tooth Whitening

The limits of tooth whitening

The limits Of Tooth Whitening
The limits Of Tooth Whitening


Showing a healthy, aligned and bleached denture has become a letter of introduction in today's society. That is why tooth whitening is already part of the usual treatments in the dentist's office who warn of the risks of using bleaching products without control and of falling into the obsession of an increasingly white tooth, a pathology known as white skin


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The starting point to undergo tooth whitening is to have a healthy mouth , both on teeth and gums, in addition to being over 18 years.

"Those who are trained for these treatments are dentists who must apply an aggressive product on the tooth, something that requires direct supervision," says the president of the General Council of Dentists of Spain, Óscar Castro.

Hydrogen peroxide (in concentrations between 0.1 and 12%) and carbamide peroxide (between 16 and 32%) are the molecules most used by laboratories and in both cases the oxygen they give off is the one that bleach the tooth.

Spanish legislation establishes that:


  1. A concentration equal to or less than 0.1% of hydrogen peroxide present in the various oral products sold directly to the consumer is considered safe.
  2. A concentration between 0.1 and 6% and greater than 6% of hydrogen peroxide is safe as long as a previous clinical examination is carried out to guarantee that there are no risks or oral pathologies; that the sale is restricted exclusively to dentists and under their direct supervision; and that it is not used in children under 18 years of age.
"At present, it is an effective, safe treatment with a reasonable cost," says Beatriz Serrano de Haro, a doctor-dentist at the head of the dental clinic that bears her name and made up of a team of specialists in dental aesthetics, endodontics , orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and oral and maxillofacial surgery.


" Advances have allowed the product is also improved with catalysts heterints é neo, which prevent peroxides penetrate into the deeper layers of the tooth , or type ACP (amorphous calcium phosphate with remineralizing effects), which gets lower sensitivity than teeth whitening can produce and without practically damaging the microhardness of the enamel, "says the expert.

Misuse, attention to risks

But without the control of a dentist, using a whitening product of a concentration greater than 0.1% may carry risks, the main one the burn.

The central component of the peroxides is the oxygenated water that burns the pigments of the tooth, just as it yellows and lightens the hair.

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" This aggressiveness can burn the soft tissues and cause irreversible damage to the structure of the tooth, especially in its vitality, as well as pain," says Óscar Castro.

For this reason, it warns of the offers of a plication of bleaching products outside the dentists' consultations, such as in beauty centers, gyms, hairdressers ... and alerts to "deceptive advertising and sale of products over the Internet", because if It treats of high concentrations can cause serious damages.

On the other hand, it also raises the effectiveness of a product and if it meets expectations, although it is sold in pharmacies .

" It is not dogma of faith to buy a product at the pharmacy to be truly effective, it is just that the pharmacy has a part of cosmetic sales, in addition to the sale of the drug, " says the president of Spanish dentists.

And if and product has a very low concentration or not the proper formula, for it will not give the expected results of whitening .

" L to whitening toothpaste can serve as maintenance, is not harmful, but also get a substantial whitening" said Oscar Castro, who also warns of blanque kits before. "Not everything sold in pharmacy are appropriate products," he insists.

The procedure of tooth whitening

Before making a dental treatment control it is necessary to verify the absence of decay , patolog í to periodontal or any other dental condition because, otherwise, the effects can be  harmful. In addition, it is convenient to perform a dental cleaning.


The dental whitening technique most used in the dentist's office is the mixed one: with a clinical and an ambulatory phase, although in some cases it can be one or the other.

The clinical session lasts about 30 minutes. After protecting the perioral soft tissues, the patient is given a peroxide gel in the mouth. "The concentration of the per oxide and the exposure time has to be customized in each case, explains Dr. Serrano de Haro.

With a cold light lamp the effect of the exposure is enhanced by shortening the time. "We have neglected -explains the dentist- the use of ultraviolet lights that were harmful to skin and mucous membranes and nowadays we work with modern lamps of cold light , LED type, that work at the optimal wavelengths for the release of the mol é molecules of oxygen. "


The second phase continues at home with the application of the whitening gel using splints for several hours a day over a few days, depending on the case.

"D skimmers é s of PLENARY n cl í nica and a drop of two or three shades is achieved, something comforting to the patient  perceives whitening as one of the few dental treatments award no longer need anesthesia and produces little discomfort" , says doctor.

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The most common and temporary side effect is dentin hypersensitivity, which can also be controlled with desensitizing products prescribed by the dentist. In cases of intense sensitivity, it is pertinent to prior treatment with these d e sensitizers.

A professional tooth whitening has a long duration in time, p ero requires maintenance once a year.

The color of the tooth, a starting point

The tooth loses light, shine and yellows over time. "Our diet is full of dyes and not only wine, coffee and cola drinks ... .. but also most fruits or fresh foods are colored and so much staining spoils the tooth," adds Beatriz Serrano de Haro .

With the professional whitening treatment, the normal thing is that the tooth loses its dark color by clarifying 3 or  4 tones, but reaching up to 8 tones, as some publicity promises, "is an outrage and something impossible," emphasizes Óscar Castro.

That is why we must take into account the color of the tooth as a starting point and if its color is also due to circumstances such as the taking of tetracyclines, at a time when they were used as an antibiotic and that dyed the tooth of the child and adolescent , or the case of endodontics or because of fluorosis or excess fl uor .

" The target grade," says the dentist, "  that can be reached is conditioned by the mineralization or texture of the enamel and also by the amount of secondary or tertiary dentine. Bleaching acts by lowering the chroma of the tooth and increase its luminosity and is to conditioned by the tooth; it does not decide, neither the dentist nor the patient.

During the days when the whitening lasts, the patient should avoid dark foods and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine, cola drinks, cocoa, squid ink ... and reds like watermelon, strawberries, beet, pomegranate ...

According to Beatriz Serrano de Haro, "we are in favor of avoiding the sacrifice of restrictive diets (we have had patients who drink fluids with a straw) and we are committed to professional maintenance of whitening once a year ."

Blancorexia, an obsession

In general, teeth whitening is indicated for those people of legal age with a healthy mouth who "want to brighten their smile", points out the dentist who highlights its positive effects by improving self-esteem.

" Teeth whitening  adds also é n is included between the current antiaging treatments. Aging involves a series of changes among which is the yellowing of the teeth. "

But there are those who look for a natural smile and there are those who want a nuclear-white smile, such as those who appear in the world of fashion, film and television, "but those very white tones can often only be achieved with porcelain or porcelain covers. they adhere to the tooth, "warns the doctor.

The alarm goes off when having white teeth becomes an obsession that leads to the continued abuse of bleaching agents. It is what in dentists and psychologists' offices is known as white-rectomy.

" It is a serious psychological problem conditioned by a society in which the aesthetic demands on values ​​and inner growth prevail and which reflects a conflict in the personal acceptance of oneself," says Beatriz Serrano de Haro, who claims to have found cases in your inquiry.

In this situation, "it is essential that the professional establishes a good relationship with the patient based on trust and thus it will be easier to advise and channel the treatment. The criteria are clear: first, health, then aesthetics . "

The abuse of bleaching agents, ie peroxides, is very harmful to the oral cavity. In skin and mucous membranes can cause lesions with irritations or desquamations or erosive lesions and the tooth can cause irreversible hypersensitivity, cracks in the enamel and even pulpal necrosis or irreversible root resorption. " There have even been cases of taste alterations," says the specialist.

In addition to damaging the tooth, the abuse of bleaches is useless, he insists, since the tooth has a "cap" of whitening conditioned by the mineralization or texturing of the enamel and the amount of secondary or tertiary dentin.

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