Coming to join common spa concepts and programs like skincare, wellness, hair care and fitness, a new member has joined the spa family – teeth whitening. By Sasaki Shigehito
Every Spa is always willing to provide one-stop beauty services to guests. Recently, teeth whitening has begun to show up at spas, beauty salons and fitness centers.
The teeth color that we perceive is not only a surface color, but also the dentin color reflected by enamel. During our infancy and childhood, the deciduous teeth were milk-white. With growing age, our teeth gradually turn yellow. The causes of teeth staining and yellowing are many. Generally speaking the causes can be divided into endogenous causes and exogenous causes.
Exogenous staining is a result of the existence of various germs on the teeth surface which generate viscous substances. When tea residue, smoke stains, and the mineral substances from drinking water and our saliva join with these viscous substances, dental plaque and dental calculus begin to form, resulting over time in yellow or dark teeth.
Endogenous staining takes place in the dental development process. For example, the tetracycline gathering in the dentin makes the teeth become yellow, brown or dark grey, which is called tetracycline stained teeth. Excessive amounts of fluorine in the drinking water may cause dental fluorosis, in the case of which you will see white-chalk and brown plaque on the teeth surface. Likewise, after the necrosis of dental nerves, the hemachrome meets the bacterial decomposed substances and thus darkens the teeth.
One practice of teeth whitening is to place chemically oxidizing whitening gel on or inside the teeth. Chemical reactions occur between the teeth and the medicine and whiten the teeth. Another practice is to attach certain substances onto the teeth surface to cover the original teeth color and make them appear white. The former is called chemical whitening while the latter covers whitening. Teeth wash and abrasive blasting teeth cleaning are also common practices to restore the natural teeth color. Besides, some of the latest practices include abrasive blasting whitening, cold light whitening, ultrasonic teeth wash, photocatalyst teeth whitening and more. The details are listed below.
Whitening Toothpaste and Abrasive Blasting Whitening
Whitening toothpaste was the earliest way people used to whiten their teeth. Nowadays, there are more and more quality whitening toothpastes and mouth rinse/foam sold in pharmacies. They are effective in dealing with teeth staining caused by long-term intake of dark color drinks or cigarettes. They are also effective maintenance ways to keep the effects of previous professional medical teeth whitening treatments. The toothpaste contains whitening particles which can restrain the production of oral bacteria and thus prevent tooth decay.
Abrasive blasting whitening is the updated version of toothpaste particles whitening. The treatment sprays specially-made silicon dioxide salt particles onto the teeth surface with high pressure draft to clear away the attached substances on the teeth that is originally hard to be removed. The salt particles melt away in the mouth just like a body salt scrub at the Spa. The abrasive blasting can immediately softly clean up the tea residue, tobacco dirt and food materia alba attached to the teeth. The teeth which receive the abrasive blasting treatment are also at the same time polished so that they appear bright and clean. The treatment can also prevent the formation again of dental calculus, dental plaque and pigments. So teeth wash always goes hand in hand with abrasive blasting. The process exerts little harm to the enamel and is therefore hailed as “painless teeth wash”.
Ultrasonic Teeth Wash
Then, ultrasonic teeth wash became popular. Ultrasonic supragingival scaling is commonly known as teeth wash. The ultrasonic mechanical vibration turns water flow into special ultrasonic steam bubbles. The powerful ultrasonic energy released by the bubbles when they burst can loosen the stubborn dental calculus and thus achieve the goals of teeth cleaning, descaling and dental calculus removal. The ultrasonic energy can easily eliminate the dental calculus and plaque hidden in the slit between the teeth and under the gingiva. And it exerts little harm to teeth surface. However, professional operation is needed. The whole process must be strictly conducted with aseptic technique by standard dentists. The endogenous heat generated by the powerful ultrasonic energy and thermal effect clear away the dirt and dental plaque in the oral cavity and on the teeth and kill the bacteria at the same time to comprehensively achieve sterilization, disinfection, and dental diseases prevention. The treatment has instant and remarkable whitening effects to combat dental calculus, yellow teeth and smoke stained teeth. However, it just removes the pigment attached to the surface, but it is unable to turn the teeth completely whiter. So we would rather call it teeth wash instead of teeth whitening.
Cold Light Whitening and Denture Whitening
Cold light whitening involves wiping whitening medicine of comparatively high concentration on the pre-cleansed or treated teeth and then use cold light to catalyze the medicine decomposition and generation of free oxygen atoms. With high activity, the free oxygen atoms can penetrate into the deep part of the teeth and clear away the pigment molecules in the decomposed substances so as to whiten the teeth from inside out. This is a hi-tech method integrating physics, chemistry and medicine, improving both the pigmentation stained teeth of exogenous cause and the pigmentation teeth, fluorotic teeth and hereditary yellow teeth of endogenous cause. As a result, the teeth become more natural and lucent. But the effect can last for only several years and it must be conducted at professional dentistry institutes. Moreover, the high concentration chemical bleach used in the treatment will do harm to the gingiva and cause pains.
Denture whitening is popular in Europe and the U.S. as a household teeth whitening product using the chemical bleach of low concentration. Users can make a tooth mold according to their own tooth shape and put lightener and directed enzyme inside every evening. They wear the tooth mold 20 minutes for nine days in a row and the effects will last for half a year to one year. This method is most suitable for treating mild and medium pigment teeth and yellow teeth caused by long-term intake of tea, coffee, red wine and cigarettes. But frankly speaking, the effect is not so ideal.
Veneering Whitening and Teeth Coating Whitening
Veneering whitening is the professional version of cover whitening. It involves pasting a layer of veneer on the teeth surface to cover the already changed teeth color. Popular veneers now are resin veneer and porcelain veneer. The latter has all the advantages of the former in addition to its porcelain essence. It is vivid and good looking. This “whitening veneer” which resembles teeth enamel is cut into a shape perfectly fit for the tooth and through special linking materials, the porcelain veneer is closely and tightly attached to the tooth. A porcelain veneer is usually more expensive, yet with longer effects, than a resin veneer, theoretically speaking, for several decades.
Porcelain veneered tooth has good color, luster and form, with little difference to dermal tooth. Veneering whitening boasts meticulous and sophisticated craftsmanship and is now the major means to treat teeth defects and dentition defects. However, the effects may vary with different individuals. There are also cases where the veneers fall off, change color or even cause sequels like gingiva tumefaction, bleeding and inflammation. Nevertheless, all kinds of veneering whitening will inevitably damage the teeth surface. So dentists normally don’t strongly recommend it.
Teeth coating is the substances spread on the teeth surface which can be perfectly cohered to the teeth and form a complete protective film. It is a temporary covering. The substances are white suspending liquid with light mint taste and served as enamel when being attached to the teeth. The coating is absolutely safe, made up with cement, composite resin teeth viscose, superfine edible pigment and edible essence. It is also easy to handle. Just evenly wipe it on the teeth surface and wait until they are dried and solidified. The teeth coating method is not influenced by the original color of the teeth and can turn the teeth as white as you wish, similar to the usage of lipstick. But just like make-up, the coating will be cleansed away while you are washing your teeth every morning and evening. So you must do the teeth coating every day if you want to make them appear white continually. It is a good household application.
Photocatalyst Teeth Whitening
Photocatalyst teeth whitening is one of the latest and best teeth whitening technology methods prevalent in Europe, the U.S. and Japan. Taking advantages of the adsorptive action of carbon dioxide and photocatalyst, the treatment removes the pigmentation on the teeth surface and enters into the deep layer to discolor without penetrating the dental pulp. It is powerful in combatting dental fluorosis, tetracycline stained teeth, pigmentation, enamel hypoplasia, dental decay and devitalization. The process takes only 15-30 minutes basically without any side effects. The whitening result can last for over two years. Quality non-ultraviolet photocatalyst whitening can be done continually over the long term without causing any tooth sensitivity. On the contrary, it kills bacterial and combats inflammation. At present, this practice is the most convenient-to-operate teeth whitening method, highly welcomed by non-dentistry facilities such as spas, beauty and hair salons and fitness centers because it doesn’t demand much input or manpower cost.