What Is Teeth Whitening?
The process of lightening teeth and remove stains and discolouration is know as Teeth Whitening. It is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure as it helps in improving looks of your teeth ultimately affecting your smile.
Teeth whitening process is not one time process as it requires regular care and it can be done with your regular dental routine.
What It’s Used For?
The colour of your teeth is made up of reflection and scattering of light off the enamel(enamel is an outer layer of the tooth) and a combination of the colour of the dentin under it.More of the colour of dentin is shown through if the thinner enamel is there.Smooth or rough enamel affects reflection of light and therefore its colour.
Due to everyday activity, a thin coat generally known as pellicle forms on the enamel and it picks up stains. Also, it contains pores which are also responsible for stain.
Common reasons for teeth getting a yellow colour or stained are:
- drinking dark-coloured liquids such as coffee, cola, tea and red wine
- lack of regular oral dental care
- inconsistent brushing
Also, ageing makes teeth less bright as the enamel gets thinner and the dentin becomes darker.
It is also possible to have stains on the tooth. These are called intrinsic stains. For example, intrinsic stains can be caused by exposure to too much fluoride as a child while teeth are developing. Other causes include tetracycline antibiotics. They can stain a child’s teeth if taken by a mother during the second half of pregnancy or by a child who is 8 years old or younger. Teeth are still developing during these years. Trauma may also darken a tooth.
Intrinsic stains which are stains inside the tooth are also a possibility due to lack of regular dental care. The Very common use case of intrinsic stains is exposure of too much fluoride in childhood when teeth are in development stage.Other cause may be tetracycline antibiotics if it is taken by a mother during the second half of pregnancy. Also if a child is 8 years or older and has taken such antibiotics can cause intrinsic stain issue.Because teeth are in developing stage in these years.Trauma is also another cause of dark tooth.
Teeth whitening are more effective for extrinsic i.e. external stains.
Is there any pre-treatment required before teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening process can be get affected due to other dental problems such as cavities. Because whitening solution can go through decade areas which may affect the whitening process.Also receded gums are responsible for yellow or discoloured teeth.Thus .Whitening products are ineffective in such cases.Whitening treatment makes your teeth sensitive if you are having decayed teeth or receding gums.Also, whitening is not effective in ceramic or porcelain veneers.
Whitening can be done in the dental office or at home. For in-office whitening, your dentist probably will photograph your teeth first. This step will help him or her to monitor the progress of the treatment. Your dentist also will examine your teeth and ask you questions to find out what caused the staining.
How is teeth whitening treatment done?
Whitening at the dental clinic is recommendable as the dentist will take a photograph of your teeth at very first and it is helpful to monitor the overall progress of treatment.
After getting photograph your teeth, a dentist will clean your teeth.The layer of bacteria, food or any other substances which are responsible for staining are getting removed due to teeth cleaning process.Once your teeth cleaning is done dentist can begin whitening treatment.
There are two main types of whitening procedures, Vital whitening and non-vital whitening.
If Teeth are having live nerves, vital whitening is performed.If a tooth is having root canal treatment in past and no longer having a live nerve, non-vital whitening treatment is done.
A gel contains some form of hydrogen peroxide is applied to the tooth surface in the most common type of vital tooth whitening treatment. For activating gel and fastening the bleaching a specialized light or laser is used by a dentist.
Usually, the whitening process takes 30 to 90 minutes per appointment and it requires 1 to 3 appointments for complete teeth whitening treatment.Depending on the method number of appointments are being decided by the dentist, as different types of stains and dental conditions effects whitening treatment.
First, your dentist will apply a substance that covers and protects the gums around the teeth. Then, the whitening agent will be placed on the teeth.
Some whitening agents are activated by a laser light, special lights or by the heat from these lights. After the whitening agent is applied, the dentist will shine the light on your teeth. If they are badly discoloured, your dentist may suggest that you continue the bleaching process at home for a few days or weeks.
For protecting and covering gums around the teeth, a special substance is applied by dentist around your teeth.After that whitening agent is applied to teeth. For activating whitening agents a laser light or special light is used.After applying whitening agent, the light is shined on your teeth. For badly discoloured teeth dentist may suggest continuing bleaching process at home for few days or weeks.
For in-home whitening, your dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth and will make custom mouthpieces to fit you. The mouthpiece needs to fit well. A close fit helps the whitening agent remain in contact with your teeth.
In-home whitening: Dentist will take teeth impressions of upper and lower teeth and will make customized mouthpieces to fit. This mouthpiece will be filled by whitening gel provided by the dentist. Wear mouthpiece for few hours every day. Depending upon the result it is recommended to wear mouthpieces for four weeks or more.
Vital whitening may not improve the appearance of a tooth that has had root-canal treatment because the stain is coming from the inside of the tooth. If this is the case, your dentist will use a different procedure that whitens the tooth from the inside. He or she will place a whitening agent inside the tooth and put a temporary filling over it. The tooth will be left this way for several days. You may need this done only once, or it can be repeated until the tooth reaches the desired shade.
The tooth having a root-canal treatment may not be the best candidate for vital whitening treatment as in this case stain is the issue which is coming from inside the tooth. For such case, different treatment is used by a dentist. He /she will apply whitening agent inside the tooth and put the temporary filling over the tooth. For several days tooth is left in this condition. Until tooth reaches desirable shade this process is done.
When to Follow-Up after teeth whitening?
Gums are getting white or sore
If you are heavy smoker
Consuming lots of staining food which fade white shade of teeth
Is there any risk involved in teeth whitening treatment?
Usually, teeth whitening treatment doesn’t have any side effect. But some people may experience more sensitivity for short period. Mild gum irritation may also be experienced in some cases.Pregnant women should avoid teeth whitening treatment.