All You Need to Know About Teeth Whitening / Dental Bleaching

Now a days, people are approaching dentists with a shady smile in hope to get a brighter one by undergoing a teeth whitening procedure. Many factors like tea, coffee, red wine, smoking and the natural aging of teeth contribute to teeth discoloration. With age, the thickness of natural enamel decreases and more dentin color shows off giving a yellowish hue to the teeth.

What teeth whitening really is

Teeth whitening is a process to whiten/brighten your own natural teeth without any complications like removing, cutting or edging of the teeth. Through this,we can get 3 to 6 shades brighter teeth compared to your natural ones. The process of teeth whitening performed by applying some chemicals to the teeth surfaces is named as Bleaching.

teeth whitening

Bleaching / teeth whitening methods

  • Bleaching
    • Vital teeth bleaching
      • In-office bleaching
      • In-home bleaching
    • Non-Vital teeth bleaching
      • In-office bleaching

Indications – when do you need teeth whitening

  • Tea, coffee and also tobacco stains
  • Natural ageing of tooth
  • White spots on the tooth surfaces
  • Fluoride stains
  • Tetracycline stains

Cotraindications

  • In case of cervical abrasions
  • Pregnancy and in children
  • Gum recession where root surface is exposed
  • Exposed dentinal surfaces due to cracks or worn away
  • Existing crowns and veneers
  • Existing gum diseases

Vital Teeth Bleaching

Tooth is considered to be vital when the nerve in it is live without any damage. This process can be done in dental office by the trained dentists or at home by the individual itself.

In-office Vital Teeth Bleaching

First, dentist will examine for the stains or any discolorations on your tooth surfaces and will advise the required procedure. Later a routine dental cleaning will be done to remove any soft debris (pellicle) or hard deposits on the teeth surfaces and also do the necessary teeth fillings. Once the clean healthy tooth surface is attained, actual process of bleaching will be initiated. Photographs of your teeth are taken prior for further monitoring. Next a gel is applied onto the adjacent gum margins to act as a protective barrier from the whitening agent which we are using for the later process. Next the whitening agent which contains Hydrogen Peroxide will be applied to the tooth surfaces in order to bleach away any hard stains repeatedly until the desired shade is attained. Each sitting will take 60 to 90 minutes and the number of sittings may vary from 1-3 depending upon the severity of stain and the desirable shade. Also laser light can be used to activate the gel and render a faster action which is also known as power bleaching/teeth whitening.

Non-Vital Teeth Bleaching

The previously Root canal treated tooth, which had got an severe discoloration cannot be treated simply by using whitening agent on its surface. The dentist makes a hole into the teeth and place the whitening agent and fills it back with temporary filling and leave it for several days. If the desired shade is not attained then the same process will be repeated again.

In Home Teeth Whitening Methods

  • In home bleaching
  • Whitening strips
  • Whitening tooth pastes

In Home Teeth Bleaching

Here with the help of special customized mouth trays whitening agent is applied to all the teeth surfaces. The mouth trays are customized to give a close fit to the teeth and hold the agent longtime in contact to the teeth surfaces. The duration of application varies from 4 to 6 weeks daily for some prescribed hours. But one should cautiously apply without hurting the gum margins.

When is Home Teeth Bleaching Recommended

This is sometimes opted for the personal convenience sake by some patients. Also sometimes dentist adviseit ,in addition to in office bleaching when the severity of stain is very bad. the concentration of whitening agent will be less compared to in office bleaching

Advantages of Bleaching / Teeth Whitening

  • Teeth whitening achieved without any cutting or trimming of teeth enamel.
  • Brighter smile with lots of confidence can be achieved.

Disadvantages of Bleaching / Teeth Whitening

  • Gums gets burnt and temporarily bleached by ill fitting trays at home
  • Teeth Sensitivity if applied more than prescribed
  • Not permanent result
  • Diet restrictions

Post Treatment Care for Teeth Whitening

Certain foods are to be avoided in order to preserve the desired shade which includes

  • Carbonated drinks
  • Black tea and coffee
  • Soya sauce
  • Red wine
  • Strongly colored foods

Along with this regular brushing, flossing and mouth rinsing are mandatory.

Is teeth whitening permanent?

Any dentist won’t give any guarantee on the result achieved through bleaching. Certain food restrictions have to be followed. Usually the original natural shades comes back within 6-12 months. Of course there are some results that have retained for longtime even.

In Home Whitening Strips

Whitening strips are thin flexible strips with whitening gel onto its surface. These are designed according to the tooth contour and shape and are directly applied to the teeth surfaces. The basic problem here is the person who is applying doesn’t know where it is getting sticked onto. More number of applications may also lead to teeth sensitivity. The dentist consultation is a must before one chooses to opt this procedure.

Whitening Tooth Pastes

Whitening tooth pastes are vividly available in the market now a days. These contain some abrasives which removes some external stains on teeth. Of course dentist advise is a must to initiate any of the above teeth whitening methods.