Dental bleaching (Tooth whitening)

 
What is the dental bleaching?

Dental bleaching is a procedure performed by a dentist or the patient himself, to restore natural tooth color (or as close to it as possible). For this purpose, the dentist rubs an active chemical agent onto the outer or inner layer of the teeth. The active agent, hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, typically found in various tooth whitening preparations, induces oxidation in stained teeth.

 

What causes tooth discoloration? 

A tooth consists of two layers: the outer layer is transparent enamel, and the second, underlying layer contains dentin which is a yellow-brown color. The thinner the enamel layer, the more the dentin layer is reflected through it which is one of the reasons for yellow teeth.

Erosion of the enamel layer is the result of several factors, the primary factor being advancing age, which naturally leads to enamel erosion. For this reason the teeth of older people are darker. Sometimes, enamel erosion is the result of brushing teeth too aggressively and / or using strong toothpaste. Sometimes, certain types of food, high intake of certain beverages (coffee, red wine, tea), and smoking can discolor the teeth. Some people are born with dark teeth or their teeth become dark as a result of illness that affected the formation of the outer lying enamel. In addition, the intake of drugs from the "tetracycline” family during the time when the teeth are emerging, dental injuries and root canal treatment are known to damage and darken the teeth.

 

How are teeth whitened?

There are several ways to whiten the teeth:

A. Teeth whitening in the dental office: There are two ways to perform dental bleaching at home. One is professional: the patient visits the dentist who takes impressions of the patient's teeth in order to make him a splint. A few days later the patient returns to the office and is given the splint and the whitener. At home, the patient injects the whitener into the splint which he then places on his teeth.

The recommended whitening time per day is between two and four hours. Make sure that the whitener does not remain on the teeth longer than two hours and take care that the material does not come into contact with the gums or the mouth cavity. This procedure takes between three to six weeks, until the patient reaches his desired color, or close to it. It is very important not to build up the patient’s expectations because the results of dental bleaching vary from patient to patient. It is not recommended to bleach the teeth white, because the natural color of teeth is ivory white.
Another way to whiten teeth at home is by using commercial teeth whitening kits, which are sold in chain stores and purchased by the patient independently.

C. Chemical preparations for teeth whitening: The use of regular toothpaste to which has been added dental bleaching materials.

Before treatment

 

  • • It is recommended to clean your teeth at least twice a day for a week or two before treatment, using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and dental floss.
    • Smokers should quit smoking before the treatment, as smoking can damage the gums.
    • It is recommended before treatment to visit the dentist for general dental cleaning.
    • If planning aesthetic treatment such as crown construction, you should aim to complete the dental bleaching procedure about two weeks before applying crowns, in order for the colors to match. The whitening process continues 48-72 hours after completing the procedure.

    • It is important to know before teeth whitening treatment that crowns and porcelain veneers do not change color, and you should therefore know if it will be necessary to replace them after whitening.


After care 

  • Follow your dentist’s recommendations for maintaining results for longer.

    • Avoid smoking and high coffee consumption. One to three days after treatment you should avoid foods with high acidity.
    • If there is tooth sensitivity after treatment, it is recommended to use toothpaste for sensitive teeth.


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