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Whitening (Bleaching)

Although brushing and flossing are daily measures to keep the teeth clean and healthy, most of us think our smile is lacking the sparkle or is more yellow than it used to be. Surveys done by many national organizations reveal that nearly 90% of patients want to improve their smile by whitening their teeth.

Tooth whitening is a procedure that can effectively lighten the natural color of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface. Usually it cannot make a complete color change, but it may lighten the existing shade.

Common causes of discolored teeth:
  • Food and Drink: Coffee, tea and red wine are known to change the color of teeth due to the color pigments in them called chromogens.
  • Tobacco Use: Tar and nicotine are 2 chemicals that discolor the teeth. Tar creates a dark stain where as Nicotine forms a yellowish stain on the surface of the teeth.
  • Aging: With age the transparent white, enamel outer shell thins out due to wear and tear, the yellowish colored inner layer dentine shows through.
  • Trauma : Tooth might get discolored after trauma due to internal bleeding and breakdown of hemoglobin.
  • Medications: Multiple drugs cause tooth stains as an adverse effect. They include antihistamines, antipsychotics, high blood pressure medications, antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline and cancer treating drugs. Care should be taken to avoid antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline when kids are young when teeth are forming as they cause permanent stain on teeth.
  • Fluorosis: High concentration of fluoride in drinking water can cause Fluorosis, which is a permanent staining of all teeth
There are two types of whitening:

In-Office Bleaching: This procedure is also called Chair-side Whitening or Professional bleaching. It usually is done in a dental office and is done under a controlled setting by the dentist. It requires only single office visit lasting 1-2hours. During this visit the dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect your gums and the bleach agent hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide is then applied onto the teeth directly. The bleaching agent breaks the stain and whitens the teeth. At Care Dental we use Laser Activated Whitening system to enhance your smile.

At-Home Bleaching: The At-home bleaching is a milder variant of Chairside Whitening and is usually a maintenance procedure. We at Care Dental highly recommend At-home bleaching as a maintenance therapy after a initial In-office bleaching. It comes with a kit that includes a tray specially made to fit your mouth and the peroxide containing whiteners typically in gel-form loaded in syringes. The concentration of the whitening agent is lower than what your dentist would use in the office. But regular use of this kit will sustain the sparkle on your smile for prolonged durations.

Limitations and side effects:
  • Whitening is very effective on yellowish teeth but less effective on brownish teeth and ineffective on teeth with gray tones.
  • Whitening will not work on crowns, bridges, veneers and fillings.
  • It does not work on internal stains like tetracycline stains, fluorosis stains and discoloration due to trauma.
  • The most common side effect of whitening treatment is moderate to severe tooth sensitivity to cold air and water. In most cases the sensitivity is temporary.
  • Overuse of whiteners can also damage the tooth enamel or gums or might irritate the nerve ending. So it's avoided in people with cavities.
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