A smile has the power to create strong first impressions. Some people consider glowing white teeth to be the key for a good social life. Tooth discoloration occurs naturally and unfortunately the changing lifestyles have resulted in more tooth whitening appointments.
Tooth Whitening – Whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure which removes stains from the teeth. It could be performed at the dentist’s office or at-home.
A dentist’s approach is more professional and helps you deal with the after-effects of whitening more easily. Whitening is a repeated procedure if you are looking to sustain that white color.
Causes of Tooth Discoloration
The natural color of teeth is created by the reflection and scattering of light off the enamel, combined with the color of dentin under it. Tooth discoloration occurs due to formation of a thin coating called pellicle on the enamel. This is the natural cause.
Other common causes are:
Usage of tobacco
Drinking coffee, tea & cola
Stains that appear inside the tooth are known as intrinsic stains. They’re caused by too much exposure to fluoride as a child. Trauma, tooth decay, root canal issues, antibiotics used by a pregnant mother are other major reasons for darkened teeth.
Tooth Whitening at Dentist’s Office
Tooth whitening procedures need some initial preparations. Other dental issues could affect the whitening process. Issues like cavity, tooth decay & sensitivity need to be treated first. Also, crowns, veneers and ceramics do not work well with whitening.
The dentist starts by first taking photographs of your teeth which would later help in monitoring the progress. The dentist would then ask you to follow specific steps with brushing & eating.
Further in the procedure, the dentist will start cleaning your teeth which would remove bacteria, food and substances that create a build-up & add to staining worries. After this, tooth whitening starts.
Procedure 1 – Laser Bleaching
In this process, the gum tissue would be surrounded by a barrier with a strong bleaching solution in your mouth. Then a laser light or heat source shall be used to activate the bleach.
This bleach is a very strong solution as it’s controlled in the dentist’s office.
Laser bleaching completes quickly depending on your convenience. However, this treatment costs a lot.
Procedure 2 – Professional Bleaching Trays
As the name suggests, this is a professional method. Here, the dentist offers bleaching trays which uses impressions of your teeth. Those impressions devise custom bleaching trays that ideally/smoothly fit your teeth. The dentist then offers special bleaching solution which shall be used for one or two weeks continuously at home.
This is cheap but less convenient.
Bleaching trays could be used in addition to laser bleaching if stains are really bad or you are hoping for miraculous results.
Office whitening procedures only affect the front eight teeth and are much better than take-home whitening procedures. But the choice totally depends on you.
Whitening might cause a bit of sensitivity which could be avoided by using an appropriate toothpaste & chewing gum. Pregnant women should avoid whitening as the cosmetic procedure might be harmful for the fetus.