When you ask someone what they are concerned about in their teeth, most would answer that they wish they could have a brighter and whiter smile. Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure to remove stains and discoloration from your teeth to make them several shades lighter. The process usually involves the use of peroxides, most often Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide, to remove stains on teeth.
The change in color and appearance of the teeth is a concern. Staining of teeth occurs over time that makes the smile dull. These stains can be extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic staining occurs because of the accumulation of chromogenic substances on the external surfaces of teeth. The cause of extrinsic staining is certain foods, medications, tobacco usage. Intrinsic stains are usually deeper or internal stains. The cause of intrinsic stains are aging, some foods, tobacco usage, tetracycline medication, caries, and restorations.
Types of Tooth Whitening Systems:
There are different teeth whitening systems:
- Whitening Toothpaste
- OTC Strips and gels
- Tray Based on at-home systems
- In-Office bleaching—performed by a licensed cosmetic dentist
Over-the-counter Bleaching Products:
There are a variety of options available over the counter that help in tooth whitening by removing some of the extrinsic stains that lie in the pellicle layer of the tooth. These products are available in kinds of toothpaste, strips, rinses, and gels. This method, however, is very slow and gives very minute results.
Under the guidance of the dentist, at-home bleaching involves wearing trays or strips for a set amount of time each day. It is done with lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide 4% to 10%, the bleaching agent. The good news is these products work around your schedule. Using the at-home whitening system produces less sensitivity in contrast to the in-office bleaching, but is relatively less effective. Achieving results by this system requires a long-term commitment to the usage of these products.
A trained dental staff, i.e. a dental hygienist, or a dentist, under their supervision, performs the in-office bleaching procedure. Typically, it takes one hour to complete. This bleaching agent used in this method has a higher concentration, i.e. 35% to 38%, thus a trained professional can perform it themselves. You can see the results within 30 to 60-minute treatment. If the patient desires a lighter color, we advise them to take several sittings with a gap of months in between.
Risks associated with Bleaching:
Bring very careful and following all the barrier management procedures during the process helps us minimize the risks associated with bleaching. The risks associated with bleaching is tooth sensitivity and gingival irritation.
Tooth sensitivity may occur during the treatment, although sometimes it may stay for some days. Gingival irritation is possible if there is accidental exposure of the bleaching agent to the soft tissue gingiva. To limit this, we apply a gingival barrier of 1mm on the cervical margin while 2mm on the gingival margin. This barrier makes a demarcation line for the bleaching agent to stay on the tooth surface and not cause any irritation or color changes to the gingiva.