Monday, 3 November 2014

Safe ways to make your teeth look whiter.Drive Hot News

In Kenya, most people who go for teeth whitening have with fluorosis, or are seeking to have their teeth made brighter for cosmetic purposes. PHOTO | FILE

Teeth whitening or bleaching is one of the most common cosmetic dental procedures performed by dentists worldwide. Bleaching changes the original shade of teeth to a brighter one.
Dental bleaches are designed with an active ingredient, hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, which helps get rid of both surface and deep stains.
People have different reasons for whitening their teeth. In Kenya, for instance, most people who go for teeth whitening have with fluorosis, or are seeking to have their teeth made brighter for cosmetic purposes.
This is according to Dr Johnson Wambugu, a dentist.
However, before you have your teeth whitened, talk to your dentist so that he or she can determine whether you really need to undergo the procedure.
Dear Doc,
If I have my teeth cleaned, will it be the same as whitening them? 
Dear Felix,
This is a very good question. The two procedures are different. Normally, cleaning refers to the removal of stains and plaque (sticky substance with bacteria) on the teeth which cannot be removed through normal brushing. This procedure is known as scaling. The dentist uses an instrument called a hand scaler or an electric scaler to remove the plaque.
On the other hand, teeth whitening is basically bleaching and involves changing the shade of the teeth. The dentist uses a reference tool called shade guide to match a person’s current tooth colour with the desired one. Just like skin colour varies in different people, so does the colour of teeth. The shade guide helps determine how much whiter one’s teeth should to be.
Dear Doc,
Can anyone bleach their teeth? 
Dear Prudence,
Not everyone can bleach their teeth. Bleaching is suitable only for people with healthy gums and natural teeth. It does not work for people with dentures, fillings, or crowns. For people with severe fluorosis, crowning is usually the most suitable option.
Teeth whitening also works best for people who have yellow teeth, compared with those who have brown or grey teeth. So it is important to consult a qualified dentist to discuss the need to have your teeth whitened and the best method for you.
Dear Doc,
I recently underwent a teeth whitening procedure. How long will the effects last?
Dear Abel,
Some types of bleaching are permanent while others are temporary. For example, bleaching as a result of flourosis is permanent while non-vital bleaching (done on discoloured teeth due to an injury) is not permanent. Some stains come back, especially if you smoke or take drinks and foods that contain caffeine. This can cause the whiteness to fade in few weeks.
However, by avoiding the causes of staining, you can maintain the whiteness for up to two or three years before you have to have them whitened again. Generally, the length of time the effects last varies from one person to another.
Dear Doc,
I have always had white teeth but I recently noticed some discolouration. What could be the cause?
Kindly help.
Dear Chep,
Every day of our life, a thin coating called pellicle forms on the surface of the enamel (outer part of the tooth) and it collects stains. In addition, the enamel has pores that can trap stains.
There are several factors that can make teeth become discoloured. These can either be extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic factors include the use of tobacco products, miraa, and heavy use of caffeinated products like coffee.
This type of discoloration can be avoided and should disappear with normal brushing. But it is also possible to get your teeth stained from the inside, that is, intrinsic stains.
These can be due to exposure to too much fluoride, especially in drinking water, a condition known as fluorosis. Some types of antibiotics taken during pregnancy or early in a child’s life when they are still developing can also cause discolouration of the teeth.
Any form of trauma to the tooth or a cavity can cause it to darken. Last but not least, ageing can also make the teeth appear less bright as the dentin turns darker and the enamel grows thinner. It is, therefore, advisable that you visit a dentist to discuss your problem and the possible solution.
Dear Doc,
My friend is scheduled for a teeth whitening procedure. Are there any side effects she can suffer after the procedure?
Concerned friend
Dear concerned friend,
Teeth whitening is unlikely to have any severe side effects if done the right way and by the right person. The common reported side-effect is sensitivity to hot or cold foods, or discomfort in the gum but this is usually mild and only lasts a short while.
This is because bleaching is done on the enamel, which covers the dentin. Dentin contains nerve endings, hence the sensitivity. For this reason, bleaching should not be done too frequently.
Other risks might arise from using unsafe bleaching methods. Let your friend make sure that the person performing or prescribing the bleaching chemicals is a qualified dentist. Some herbalists promise instant bleaching but use harmful chemicals.
These chemicals can cause severe sensitivity that will require treatment, so you might end up spending more. In addition, your friend should not undergo teeth whitening if she is pregnant.
Some of the whitening chemicals can be passed to the developing foetus although the effects are not yet known. If she is pregnant, she should postpone the procedure until she has had the baby