Bleaching can be done by the dentist in the dental clinic or at home by various commercially available bleaching kits. However, before directly jumping to the home bleaching, it is important that a dentist be consulted. This is important since home bleaching product may not be effective or indicated for every individual. Generally, the first bleaching is done at the dental office, with the follow up being done by
the home bleaching products. However from a safety point of view and for best results both home and office bleaching should be monitored by the dentist.
Teeth presents with 2 types of stains:
Intrinsic stains: These stains are of developmental origin being incorporated within the structure of
the tooth. These stains are caused by factors which operate at the time when
Extrinsic Stains: These stains are caused by tea, coffee, cigarettes, pan masala and other tobacco products, spicy food containing lots of red chillies and turmeric. Since these stains are of exogenous
origin, they can be removed by bleaching.
the tooth is being formed. Common factors responsible for intrinsic staining include drinking of water with high fluoride content, ingestion of tetracyline medication, and injury to the tooth. Bleaching does effect these stains too but
the effect varies depending on the severity of the clinical condition.
How Can You Brighten Your Smile?
Many people have had their teeth bleached, and probably millions more are thinking about it. The desire for a brighter smile with whiter teeth is very strong, and tooth bleaching safely lightens the color of the teeth, lasting for up to five years. The most effective and safest method of tooth bleaching is dentist-supervised.
Is bleaching for you?
Generally, bleaching is successful in at least 90 percent of patients, though it may not be an option for everyone. Consider tooth bleaching if your teeth are darkened from age, coffee,
tea or smoking. Teeth darkened with the color of yellow, brown or orange respond better to lightening. Other types of gray stains caused by fluorosis, smoking or tetracycline are lightened, but results are not as dramatic. If you have very sensitive teeth, periodontal disease, or teeth with worn enamel, your dentist may discourage bleaching.
How long does it last?
Lightness should last from one to five years, depending on your personal habits such as smoking and
drinking coffee and tea. At this point you may choose to get a touch up. This procedure may not be
as costly because you can probably still use the same mouthguard.
The retreatment time also is much
shorter than the original treatment time.
How does it work?
The active ingredient in most of the whitening agents is 10 percent carbamide peroxide (CH4N2O2), also known as urea peroxide; when water contacts this white crystal, the release of hydrogen peroxide
lightens the teeth.
Is it safe? Any side effects?
Several studies, during the past five years, have proven bleaching to be safe and effective.
The American Dental Association has granted its seal of approval to some tooth bleaching products. Some patients may experience slight gum irritation or tooth sensitivity, which will resolve when the treatment ends.
What are realistic expectations?
No one can really predict how much lighter your teeth will become. Every case is different. Typically, there is a two-shade improvement as seen on a dentist's shade guide. The success rate depends upon the type of stain involved and your compliance. Bleaching can only provide
a shift in color from gray to a lighter shade of gray, for example. Bleaching does not lighten artificial materials such as resins, silicants, or porcelains.