Tooth bleaching - The process of teeth whitening is done to get rid of stains and discoloration. This is amongst the most popular aesthetic procedures. It helps in the lightening of tooth color but does not change the tooth color drastically.
What are the benefits of bleaching?
- It gives quick results
- Provides the safest form of bleaching
- Helps in controlling the gum and tooth sensitivity as there is a use of desensitizers like potassium fluoride.
Are there any disadvantages?
The cost factor is relatively high as compared to the take-home alternatives.
The in-office bleaching is not permanent. The stains may get accumulated again over time.
Results may vary with age, type of stains or hereditary factors.
Why is it done?
The most common factors responsible for stained teeth are excessive tobacco use, consumption of dark-colored beverages such as coffee, tea, red wine, poor oral hygiene, etc.
Moreover, the teeth look less bright with advancing age as the enamel, topmost layer of a tooth, gets thinner and the second layer, dentine becomes darker.
Intrinsic stains can be caused by excessive exposure to fluoride during child development.
Intake of tetracycline antibiotics by the mother during pregnancy leads to stains while the teeth are still developing.
Any sudden trauma can also lead to discoloration.
What kind of procedure is followed in tooth whitening?
After a detailed oral checkup to see if you are suitable for bleaching or not. Subsequently, a rubber-based gel or sheath is applied to the gums to protect them from the bleaching agents. Then the whitening agents are applied on the teeth with the help of a tray that completely fits into the mouth. This tray is called a mouthguard. The active ingredients in the whitening agents are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These active ingredients break down and release oxygen thus getting infused into enamel and making tooth color lighter.
What are home-whitening kits?
Other than the in-office technique, there are several home whitening kits available, which has a paint-on whitener and strips. These kits are cheaper but may or may not be as safe as the former. Hence, there is always a risk of damage to the teeth or gums. The ratio of the active ingredients depends upon the rules and regulations in each country.
What are the risks associated with teeth whitening?
Following risks might be involved while getting a teeth whitening done:
Temporary tooth sensitivity associated with mild irritation to the gums. This usually disappears within 1 to 3 days of completing the treatment. In such cases, the following measure should be done,
Wear the tray for a shorter period.
Stop wearing the tray for 2-3 days to let the teeth adjust to the whitening process.
Use oral products which are high in fluoride content to remineralize the teeth.
Brush the teeth with medicated toothpaste made for sensitivity. This toothpaste help in the protection of the nerve-endings.
How should teeth be taken care of after getting bleached?
One must reduce the foods or drinks that can give the stains.
Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.
Brushing teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
Reduce taking sugar-based foods and drinks.
Visit your dentist regularly.
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