Teeth Whitening


What is meant by teeth whitening?

In order to enhance the smile by making the teeth look whiter, teeth whitening as a bleaching procedure can be done professionally by a dentist or at home with do-it-yourself or DIY methods. Caused by smoking, genetics, braces worn over long periods and certain foods and beverages, the teeth get discoloured and stained over time making the teeth look unattractive and dull in appearance. There are two methods of bleaching such as at-home and in-office bleaching options that offer patients or people a chance to improve the colour of their teeth.

What are the main causes of tooth discoloration and staining?

With many reasons for staining and discolouration of teeth, the common factors would be physical causes and genetics. With genes playing a major part in the colour of teeth which is normally white, brown, grey, yellow or badly stained, teeth take on the colour of dental abnormalities that are genetic which occurs in the dentin or the material that is found under the enamel of the surface of the tooth. This can be improved with whitening and in some cases the original colour cannot be removed. Use of soft drinks, smoking, illness, tobacco products coffee, tea, other beverages, daily wear and tear contribute to staining and discolouration of the teeth and can be removed by whitening unless the discolourations are too stubborn to be removed or whitened.

What are the procedures that can be used for whitening of the teeth?

Though there are other methods for whitening the teeth, the major procedures that are commonly used are prescribed procedures that are administered by the dentist and do-it-yourself or DIY methods done with over-the-counter products for whitening. The in-office bleaching options that are prescribed and administered by the dentist would involve deep bleaching procedures with take home and in-office procedures, custom-fit mouth trays with take-home teeth whitening kits, LED-light activated or with laser entailing a one-hour bleaching period and in-office bleaching with non-light activated bleaching. The do-it-yourself or DIY methods can be done at home with brush-on whiteners, whitening toothpastes, custom boil & bite or stock mouth trays whitening kits and whitening strips.

What are the other methods used for teeth whitening?

Hydrogen peroxide can be used for whitening or bleaching the teeth but should be used under the supervision of the dentist for correct application. Though not as strong as hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide can also be used for bleaching the teeth with longer shelf-life and is ideal for do-it-yourself or as a DIY method. People with cracked teeth and teeth that have bad formation can undergo cosmetic procedures that can whiten the teeth such as veneers, crowns, bonding and people with tetracycline-stained teeth can use the latest deep bleaching procedure.

Which method of teeth whitening is ideal?

This depends on the condition of your teeth, the results that are wanted in a specified period of time and the budget that is involved. If you want your teeth to be as white and shiny as possible on personal grounds then you may go in for the dentist prescribed and administered teeth whitening methods that include laser treatment as it is more reliable and quicker than DIY procedures. If your dental health is in good condition and if you have a smaller budget, then you can use in-home procedures.

Will the bridges, veneers and crowns be made whiter with teeth whitening?

Dental work such as crowns, veneers and bridges will not be affected by teeth whitening as only the natural teeth will be made whiter with teeth whitening procedures. If dental work has been done to a major part of the front teeth, then teeth whitening will not work in comparison with dental work done to the teeth at the back of the mouth. If minimal dental work has been done to the teeth, then it is possible to go ahead and use either in-home or at-office teeth whitening treatment. Or you can use carbamide peroxide bleaching gels of a high percentage which are known as the ‘gold standard’ in the whitening of teeth or a highly effective procedure called ‘Deep Bleaching’.

What is the length of time that teeth whitening can last?

Teeth whitening can last up to a period of 6-9 months but differs in every person. Teeth whitening can last longer if beverages, smoking and food that stain the teeth can be avoided to discourage disclouration of the teeth. Oral hygiene must be adhered to if one wants to keep his/her teeth white and shiny along with teeth whitening procedures, gargling or rinsing with peroxide after every meal and brushing with teeth whitening toothpaste.


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