Most people would love to have a nice set of teeth that’s both healthy and good-looking. To achieve this, a professional teeth cleaning and whitening service are recommended to help improve your oral health and enhance the aesthetics of your teeth. But how does professional teeth cleaning differ from teeth whitening? How do you know which dental service is best for your teeth? This article will cover the differences between teeth cleaning and teeth whitening to help you make an informed decision.
What is teeth cleaning?
Teeth cleaning is the process of removing dental plaque and tartar from teeth. Plaque is a sticky deposit that builds up on the surface of the teeth and contains millions of bacteria that can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. Tartar on the other hand, is a hard, crusty deposit that stems from leaving plaque untreated for too long. This can also contribute to a whole host of oral health problems if not addressed immediately.
In medical terms, teeth cleaning is called dental prophylaxis. During this procedure, a dentist uses special tools to scrape off plaque and tartar from the patient’s teeth. While plaque can be removed by regularly brushing and flossing, tartar can only be removed through teeth cleaning. After these bacterial deposits have been removed, the dentist uses a gritty toothpaste and an electric toothbrush to remove any remaining vestiges of plaque and tartar.
A professional teeth cleaning procedure is more of an oral hygiene maintenance than a cosmetic makeover. While it can whiten teeth slightly, it can’t remove stains brought by smoking or drinking coffee. If you’re looking to enhance the overall look of your teeth, then you may want to consider a professional teeth whitening service.
What is teeth whitening?
As the name implies, teeth whitening is a dental procedure that lightens the shade of your teeth. Teeth can often be stained or discoloured by certain types of food, beverages, and even medications. For people who want a brighter smile, a professional teeth whitening procedure is highly recommended. The way it works is that a dentist applies special bleaching agents (either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) on the surface of the teeth. These bleaching agents then break down stains into lesser concentrations, thus brightening the shade of your teeth.
The results can be dramatic as getting teeth get three to eight shades brighter. This cosmetic procedure usually takes several appointments to achieve the desired shade. There are plenty of reasons why a patient may want to undergo teeth whitening. They may want to feel more confident about their smile or they may want to get rid of the stains as a result of smoking or drinking coffee.
What teeth whitening does not do is improve your oral health. It’s purely a cosmetic procedure so do keep that in mind. You can have a nice set of pearly whites, but if you don’t practice proper oral hygiene, then all the cosmetic enhancement won’t do you any favours in the long run.
Keep in mind that it’s perfectly normal for your teeth to appear slightly yellowish. In fact, some of the strongest, healthiest teeth around are not white. The natural colour of dentin (the hard bone tissue found underneath the enamel) is yellow and because enamel has a somewhat translucent appearance, it reveals the colour of dentin more prominently.
Choosing between professional teeth cleaning and whitening
At the end of the day, choosing between professional teeth cleaning and whitening will depend on the condition of your teeth. If you have severe plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth, then you may want to opt for a teeth cleaning service first. If on the other hand, you have a healthy set of teeth that’s discoloured or heavily stained, you can opt for a teeth whitening service to achieve a brighter smile.
Because a teeth whitening procedure is more expensive than a teeth cleaning service, it’s quite hard to justify the cost if your teeth are suffering from oral health issues. Before you enhance the look of your pearly whites, make sure you address any underlying oral problems first. Your goal is to have healthy teeth prior to undergoing a teeth whitening procedure as you don’t want to risk running into plaque or tartar buildup that may ruin your teeth’s look. As always, we recommend discussing everything with your dentist so they can recommend the best option for your needs.
Professional teeth cleaning and teeth whitening are two very different dental procedures. Remember, a whiter smile does not always equate to healthy teeth so don’t forget to brush your teeth twice a day, use dental floss in between meals, and visit your dentist regularly so you can have a nice set of teeth that’s both healthy and good-looking.