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What is Bleaching?

Whitening is a method to remove disturbing stains and desaturations on teeth. Teeth whitening is a quite popular cosmetic application for it is highly effective making your teeth and smile great.

Reminder: This is not a one-time only operation; therefore, it must be repeated periodically to sustain the way your teeth look.

What is its purpose?

Outer tooth layer is called “enamel”. Reflection and light scattered off enamel surface are the key components of your natural tooth color; dentin color also contributes to this mix. Enamel structure, thickness and smothness are all affected by your genes. While thin enamel provides more color to be displayed through dentin, smooth or rough enamel also have structural characteristics regarding light reflection hence the color.

A thin coating called “pellicle” is daily formed on our enamel that contains stain. Pores are like pellices in this case which keeps stain particles.

Usual factors lead to yellow teeth and/or stains

  • Tobacco usage, consuming dark-colored beverages such as coffee, tea etc. would undoubtedly lead to mentioned problems.
  • Poor dental care
  • As we age up, our teeth become less bright since enamel is now thin and dentin is darker.
  • Intrinsic stains, on the other hand, are stains that are situated in the inner side of tooth. These stains could happen because of too much exposure to fluoride in our childhood days when our teeth first start to develop. Antibiotics containing tetracycline may cause the same problem.

Considering all mentioned above, it would be correct to say that whitening process is best fit for extrinsic surfaces.

Preparation Phase

Some dental flaws may affect whitening procedure negatively. Cavities must be treated before teeth are whitened so that whitening liquid can travel through decayed parts and heal inner tooth parts. If you are experiencing gum recession, exposed parts of your teeth would look yellow and whitening products would not be able to brighten them.

If your tooh decayed or receding gums are a present condition, whitening your teeth may cause over-sensitivity in your teeth. Also, this operation would not provide any benefit on ceramic, porcelain crowns or veneers.

Whitening process can be applied in both dental office and at home. In-office treatment, your dentist will take pictures of your mouth first thereby it will help your dentist to monitor the progress easier. Dentist may ask what caused the stains in your mouth.

Later, dentist will start the cleaning phase. This way, bacterias, food and other substances stuck in your mouth will be cleaned. Once all is done, whitening starts.

How is it done?

Whitening has 2 methods. Whitening that is applied to teeth that had root-canal treatment and no longer has any nerve alive, this is called non-vital whitening. Vital whitening on the other hand, is done on teeth with nerves living.

Non-Vital Whitening

If you had root-canal treatment to clean inner stains before, vital whitening may not provide any benefit. In this case, dentist will utilize a different procedure to whiten the tooth inside. Dentist would place a whitening solution in tooth and cover teeth with temporary filling. Your teeth should stay for several days in this condition. This process can be repeated until desired result is achieved.

Vital Whitening

During this treatment, a solution that as gel form is applied on tooth surface directly. This solution contains some hydrogen peroxide.

If your whitening is done in office, a more powerful gel could be used by the dentist after which a special laser activates the gel that helps bleaching spread faster.

In-office whitening treatments take 30 to 90 minutes usually. 1-3 appointment will be necessary depending on the method used, how serious the stains are and how white you want your teeth to be. Every stain has different reaction to treatment.

First, dentist applies the protective substance that covers and shields your gum around teeth area after which whitening mix is inserted on teeth.

Some mixes are combined with laser light, or heat from the lights to be activated. If your teeth color is in a serious condition such as heavy desaturation, dentist may instruct you to apply extra bleaching at home for several days or weeks.

As for the in-home whitening application, your dentist will prepare you a mouthpiece according to certain measurements. Usually, patients achieve desired results in a week or two. However, mouthpiece may stay in contact for four weeks or more.

Next Phase

If you experience white or sore gums, consult your dentist. Re-whitening could be done at both home and/or office. You may discuss best whitening method with your dentist.

What are the risks?

It Is very rare to see side effects with whitening post operation. However, some patients may feel sensitivity. A mild gum inconvenience is a possibility for sure. Pregnant women should not prefer this treatment since effect of materials are not known on fetus.

Can whitening leave damage on my teeth?

Usually, it delivers no problematic results. However, if operation is repeated several times, it may damage the enamel structure. Don’t worry, dentist will inform you regarding it.

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