What Is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration. Whitening is among the most popular cosmetic
dental procedures because it can greatly improve how your teeth look. Whitening is not a one-time procedure.
It will need to be repeated from time to time if you want to maintain the brighter color.
Why teeth get discolored?
Deciduous (baby) teeth are typically whiter than the adult teeth that appear later. As we age, our adult teeth often become darker, yellower, or stained.
This is partly why white teeth make people appear more youthful.
The most common reasons for teeth to get yellow or stained are:
External tooth discoloration /extrinsic stains are caused by
- Using tobacco.
- Drinking dark-colored liquids such as coffee, cola, tea and red wine.
- Not taking good care of your teeth.
- Aging also makes teeth less bright as the enamel gets thinner and the dentin becomes darker.
Internal tooth discoloration/intrinsic stains are caused by
- It is also possible to have stains inside the tooth. These are called intrinsic stains.
- Exposure to too much fluoride as a child while teeth are developing.
- Other causes include tetracycline, use of antibiotics,They can stain a child's teeth if taken by a mother during the
second half of pregnancy or by a child who is 8 years old or younger. Teeth are still developing during these years.
- Other causes include tooth decay,restorations,root canal issues,trauma
- Tooth whitening is most effective on surface (extrinsic) stains.
How teeth whitening is done?
There are two main types of whitening procedures. Non-vital whitening is done on a tooth that has had root-canal treatment and
no longer has a live nerve. Vital whitening is performed on teeth that have live nerves.
Vital whitening may not improve the appearance of a tooth that has had root-canal treatment because the stain is coming from
the inside of the tooth. If this is the case, then different procedure is used that whitens the tooth from the inside.
Whitening agent is placed from inside the tooth and a temporary filling is done over it. The tooth will be left this way for several days.
You may need this done only once, or it can be repeated until the tooth reaches the desired shade.
The most common type of vital tooth whitening uses a gel-like whitening solution that is applied directly to the tooth surface.
This product contains some form of hydrogen peroxide.
Tooth whitening can be done in the dentist's office or at home.
In-office teeth whitening
In-office whitening usually takes 30 to 90 minutes. You will need one to three appointments. The number will depend upon the method used,
how severe your stains are and how white you want your teeth to be. Different types of stains respond differently to the treatment.
First, a substance that covers and protects the gums is applied around the teeth. Then, the whitening agent, usually hydrogen peroxide,
will be placed on the teeth.
Some whitening agents are activated by a laser light, special lights or by the heat from these lights. After that whitening agent is applied,
the light is focused on your teeth.
In-home teeth whitening
For in-home whitening,impressions of your upper and lower teeth are made and will make custom mouthpieces to fit you.
The mouthpiece needs to fit well. A close fit helps the whitening agent remain in contact with your teeth.
Home whitening gel usually needs to be applied daily for two to three weeks. Over-the-counter kits also are widely available for home use.
Be sure to follow directions to avoid overuse and possible damage to your teeth and mouth.
Other home teeth whitening methods include whitening strips, paint-on tooth gel, mouth trays with gel, whitening toothpaste,
and even whitening gum. These are typically safe products, but if you have oral concerns, it’s a good idea to ask dentist if these
products are safe to use. While over-the-counter tooth whitening products are available, dentist-supervised tooth whitening
remains the safest, most effective method for brightening your smile.
When the follow-up should be done?
If you find that your gums are white or sore, follow up should be done Whitening is not a permanent solution.
The stains will come back. If you smoke or consume a lot of staining foods or drinks, you may see the whiteness start to fade in
as little as one month. If you avoid these sources of staining, you may not need another whitening treatment for 6 to 12 months.
Re-whitening can be done in the dentist's office or at home. If you have a custom-made mouthpiece and whitening agent at home,
you can whiten your teeth as frequently as you need to.