Tooth whitening (termed tooth bleaching ) is either the restoration of natural tooth shade or whitening beyond natural tooth shade.
Restoration of the underlying, natural tooth shade is possible by simply removing surface stains (e.g. from tea, coffee, red wine and tobacco) and calculus (tartar). This is achieved by having the teeth cleaned by a dental professional (commonly termed “scaling and polishing“), or at home by various oral hygiene methods. Calculus is difficult to remove without a professional clean.
Common causes of tooth discloration:
- Eating Habits: daily consumption of coffee,tea,red wine,berries can cause extrinsic tooth stains
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Poor dental hygiene
- Medications (antidepressants,tetracycline antibiotics,chemotherapy and others)
- Trauma-pulp necrosis
- Oral rinses with chlorexidine
To whiten the natural tooth shade, bleaching is suggested. It is a common procedure in cosmetic dentistry and a number of different techniques are used by dental professionals. In our practice we prefer the method which combines the application in office and the use of bleaching trays with whitening gel for a 7-day period at home.
The process of bleaching is a simple and fast procedure which is fairly harmless on tooth structure.The bleaching gel is applied on teeth releasing oxygen.The final result is teeth with a brighter color.
It is a safe procedure when taken place under the supervision of the dentist.
Since the bleaching gel is made mostly from peroxide, there are no remarkable side effects. Some people may experience tooth sensitivity and irritation of the gums for a few days.In rare cases adisensitizing agent may be applied in order to eliminate tooth sensitivity.
Dental bleaching should not be applied to:
- Children and teenagers below the age of 18
- Pregnant and lactating women
- People with sensitive teeth
- Individuals with extensive fillings of amalgam or resins and crowns because dental bleaching has no effect on porcelain and fillings
- People who are allergic to teeth whitening agents like peroxide
- People with chipped teeth or with small dental cracks
Although treatment results can be rapid, stains can reappear within the first few months and years of treatment. In order to maintain your whitened smile, there are multiple ways to protect your teeth and prolong the treatment.
- Brush or rinse mouth after eating your meals
- Chewing gum without sugar after meals in case you don’t have a toothbrush with you
- Floss to remove plaque
- Use whitening tooth paste once or twice a week to avoid surface stains
- Stop smoking
- Do touch up treatments every year in the dental practice