Things to Consider Before Choosing a Teeth Whitening Procedure That’s Right For You

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Things to Consider Before Choosing a Teeth Whitening Procedure That’s Right For You

One of the most important factors that determine a person’s first impression is that person’s smile. In todays modern society, where physical appearance is considered to be held in high standards, a person portraying a beautiful smile but with noticeably stained teeth would have a difficult time giving off a great first impression.  

The cause for tooth discoloration can be partially due to the change in todays social behavior. The popularization of consuming coffee and desserts during mealtimes has resulted in an increase of people suffering from tooth discoloration. Smoking cigarettes and consuming dark colored foods such as coffee, coke, wine and chocolate are also a contributing factor to tooth discoloration.  Although the tooth seemingly appears to have a smooth and flat surface, there are actually large and small grooves throughout. It is in those crevices where color pigments are lodged in and create the discoloration. In addition, if you take antibiotics for a prolonged period of time or if the nerves and blood vessels in your teeth are destroyed, pigments may seep into the teeth and cause discoloration.  

Ms. Kate visited several dental clinics to compare the price and services offered for teeth whitening treatments. We would like to share this information as well as the different types of teeth whitening treatments available. 

There are two ways to receive teeth whitening treatments, self-whitening and in-office whitening. Both procedures involve using the same whitening agents, hydrogen peroxide.   

◊ Self-whitening

▲ Transparent tray for self-whitening

The self-whitening solution offered by dentists is to initially create a tooth mold, provide the patient with the tooth whitening agent and have the patient apply the whitening agent inside the mold and place it in their mouth for set periods of time.  

It is recommended that patients exercise this process during their sleep, since it is required to be worn for at least 3 to 4 hours at a time. Patients should repeat this step daily to maximize the effects of the whitening. The entire whitening procedure requires a lot of time and effort from the patients since it takes about 1 to 2 months from the beginning to the end.  

Self-whitening teeth procedure uses a low concentration level of about 3% hydrogen peroxide. Due to its low level of concentration, it requires a long period of use. Thanks to its low dosage, it is safe for use at home and has little to no side effects. Although it takes time, slowly but surely patients will see a difference in the shade of their teeth as time goes by. Slow and steady wins the race!   

However, it is important to do your research and make sure that the tooth whitening agent you are attempting to use is safe and clinically approved.

◊ In-Office Whitening

▲ LED Light used for an in-office whitening

In-office whitening is a method in which a patient visits the dentist to apply a whitening agent to their teeth and is exposed to LED lighting a certain number of times for a certain period of time. The concentration level of hydrogen peroxide is higher for usage during an in-office visit rather than self-whitening since it can be controlled accordingly by the dentist. In Korea, the usage of hydrogen peroxide with a concentration level of 15% or lower is allowed according to the KFDA.       

The advantage of receiving a high dosage for a one-day whitening treatment is that the procedure is quick and is done in a professional setting. However, the effect is not as great as receiving a self-whitening treatment because of the lack of prolonged time period. If the brightness of the LED lighting has up to 8 levels, clinicians usually use about level three to level four. More than 35% of the industry’s hydrogen peroxide is continued to be used in clinics because of its high effectiveness and low costs. It is important to carefully check if your dentist is using genuine whitening agent approved by the KFDA. High concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can cause severe tooth swelling, pain and elevated pulp temperature.

This is our comparison between the self-whitening vs in-office whitening procedures.

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