Enlightening expectations – Payman LangroudiPromotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 6th January 2018
Research has shown that 30% of Britain’s population use whitening toothpaste as part of their daily routine. Tooth whitening is one of the largest growing cosmetic procedures in the UK, with the industry now estimated to be worth over £40 million annually.[i] This trend is expected to increase as more and more people endeavour to emulate their celebrity idols and achieve those perfect pearly whites.
Tooth whitening is a familiar treatment that many in the profession offer to patients seeking a non-invasive cosmetic procedure. Results are predominantly successful but longevity of results depends on preventing regression subsequent to the completion of treatment. This is particularly important to understand because every patient will experience some degree of relapse, depending on their habits and oral hygiene. As such, they may seek reassurances that the tooth whitening methods you offer are reliable.
As you are aware, the enamel on the teeth is the hardest substance of the human body; with microscopic pits and ridges being similar to pores in the skin. Over time, tiny molecules from food and drink become embedded deep inside the tooth, gradually getting bigger and darker in colour, which causes staining. During the tooth whitening treatment, the teeth absorb peroxide, releasing oxygen inside the tooth structure. The discolouration is oxidised and eliminated – right at the end, tiny bubbles of oxygen stay inside the teeth, making them appear whiter.
Over a period of two to three weeks, the remaining bubbles of oxygen will dissipate, leading to colour stability. This oxygenation and conversion process breaks up the debris on the surface of the enamel, effectively disintegrating long-chain molecules so that they become smaller and appear colourless or white. As you know, teeth continue to absorb stains even after bleaching so it is crucial to assuage patients from the misconception that their teeth will remain white without diligent care and maintenance.
The compliancy of the patient is an important element to consider in order to positively influence the final outcome. It is vital to ensure that they understand and appreciate their responsibilities throughout the treatment process to achieve optimal results. All patients should receive and comply with instructions to avoid food and drinks that could stain teeth during the treatment period – coffee, red wine, chocolate, red fruits and carbonated drinks are prime examples. Advising patients to drink darker beverages through a straw so the teeth do not come in direct contact can also be useful.
Beyond these steps, patients must maintain a good oral health regime – electronic toothbrushes and whitening toothpaste will constructively aid treatment. Their techniques and products should be reviewed and suggestions made where necessary to improve them.
Patients should also be discouraged from smoking tobacco, as this has negative effects on the longevity of whitening products. Nicotine itself is colourless but once it comes into contact with oxygen, will turn teeth yellow. This means that even e-cigarettes containing nicotine infused ‘e-juice’ can stain teeth. Abstinence from smoking is especially important within 48 hours post-procedure when teeth are most susceptible to discolouring. You may have a greater, positive impact on a patient’s overall health should they decide to quit smoking altogether, because they know it will adversely affect the colour of their teeth and therefore prevent them from maximising on their investment in whitening treatment.
Whitened teeth will typically return to their original colour in three to four years.[ii] Patients may notice a change in colour earlier than this, but to prevent relapse from occurring, patients can choose to periodically re-whiten. In addition, practitioners should advise their patients to use efficient products, such as toothpastes and serums, to sustain the final result. It is important to understand the relapse process so you can offer the appropriate support to all your patients.
Premium products are as crucial to the success of tooth whitening as the cooperation of patients. The most effective treatment systems employ a combination of both in-practice whitening and at-home procedures so as to enable patients to achieve excellent results. With an impressive success rate of 98%, the Enlighten Whitening system has proven the efficacy of this method, involving two weeks of supervised home whitening followed by a final treatment in the practice to guarantee a Vita shade B1 for every patient.
Under the guidance of a qualified practitioner and with appropriate products, patients can trust that they will not only achieve the whiter smile they want, but also maintain the colour and health of their teeth for as long as possible. Help your patients welcome in the new year with a brighter, whiter smile.
[i] Oral Health Foundation (2017) ‘National Smile Month 2017 United Kingdom Survey’, Atomik Research, Survey, 21 March 2017, Sample 1015
[ii] Strassler HE. Vital Tooth Bleaching: An Update. Mdental Continuing Education Course, 2006.
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