In the blossoming world of cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening reigns supreme. Universally valued by men and women alike, whitening (or bleaching) treatments are available to satisfy every budget, time frame and temperament.
TOOTH DISCOLORATION : THE TWO TYPES OF TOOTH STAINS
- Extrinsic stains are those that appear on the surface of the teeth as a result of exposure to dark-colored beverages, foods and tobacco, and routine wear and tear
- Intrinsic stains are those that form on the interior of teeth. Intrinsic stains result from trauma, aging, exposure to minerals (like tetracycline) during tooth formation and/or excessive ingestion of fluoride.
THREE MAJOR TEETH WHITENING OPTIONS :
- In-Office WhiteningSignificant color change in a short period of time is the major benefit of in-office whitening. This protocol involves the carefully controlled use of a relatively high-concentration peroxide gel, applied to the teeth by the dentist after the gums have been protected. Generally, the peroxide remains on the teeth for 15 to 20 minute intervals that add up to an hour.
- Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening KitsTake-home kits incorporate an easy-to-use lower-concentration peroxide gel that remains on the teeth for an hour or longer (sometimes overnight). The lower the peroxide percentage, the longer it may safely remain on the teeth. The gel is applied to the teeth using custom-made bleaching trays.
- Over-the-Counter Teeth WhiteningIt involves the use of toothpastes or store-bought whitening kit, featuring a bleaching gel with a concentration lower than that of the professionally dispensed take-home whiteners. The gel is applied to the teeth via one-size-fits-all trays, whitening strips or paint-on applicators.
- Teeth Whitening Risks
- SensitivityBleaching can cause a temporary increase in sensitivity to temperature, pressure and touch, which lasts no longer than a day or two.
- Gum irritation