Teeth whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surfaces. It might not completely change the colour, but it may lighten the existing shade. There are a number of reasons why you might want to consider getting your teeth whitened. Everyone is different; and just as our hair and skin colour vary, so do our teeth. Very few people have brilliant-white teeth, and our teeth can also become more discoloured as we get older.
Your teeth can also be stained on the surface by food and drinks such as tea, coffee, etc.
‘Calculus’ or tartar can also affect the color of your teeth. Some people may have staining under the surface, which can be caused by certain antibiotics or by tiny cracks in the teeth which take up stains.
Most teeth can be whitened (also known as bleaching) and there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. External tooth whitening happens when vital teeth are bleached by direct contact with a safe and commonly used whitening agent, either in a dental office or at home. This means that in most situations, tooth whitening is possible and safe. Professional bleaching is the most common form of tooth whitening.
Types of bleaching:
In-office bleaching or chair-side bleaching usually requires only one visit. The Dentist will apply a protective gel to the gums and then bleaching agent on the teeth. Whitening products contain tooth bleaching agents (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide). These bleaches break stains into smaller pieces, which make the color less concentrated and your teeth brighter.
At home bleach
For this type of bleach, a custom-made tray is provided by the dentist. In this case, the dentist will give you instructions on how to place the bleaching solution in the tray and for what length of time. This may be a preferred option if you feel more comfortable whitening in your own home.
There are no side-effects except that some patients may complain of mild sensitivity. Further, it is important to remember that only natural teeth will be whitened and that any crowns, bridges or dentures you have will stay the same shade. The bleaching effect is temporary. Based on dietary habits, teeth will revert to natural colour.