Most people are conscious of their stained or discolored teeth and most of them go to some length to achieve a whiter, brighter smile. This could include experimenting with variety of toothpastes on the market or some home bleaching kits. Unfortunately, these efforts more often fall short of expectations.
Why do teeth stain?
There are a number of reasons that teeth stain. Your teeth can become discolored by stains on the surface or by changes inside the tooth.
1.Extrinsic: This is caused when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained. Coffee, wine, cola or other drinks or foods can stain teeth. Plaque (a sticky deposit on teeth) can build up on teeth and cause stains.
2.Intrinsic: These stains occur in the internal structure of the tooth (the dentin) darkens or gets a yellow tint.
3.Age-related: This is a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Dentin naturally yellows over time.
Over the past two decades, tooth bleaching has become one of the most popular esthetic dental treatments. Bleaching is an oxidation reaction. Tooth bleaching is ‘removal of intrinsic or acquired discolorations of natural teeth through the use of chemicals, in combination with the application of auxiliary means.
Tooth bleaching agents come under four categories: professionally applied (in the dental office); dentist-prescribed (patient home-use); patient purchased/over-the-counter (OTC) (applied by patients); and other options. Current tooth bleaching materials are based mainly on either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
In office bleaching
The treatment steps followed for bleaching teeth in the office depend on whether your teeth have undergone root canal therapy. It is the most effective way of lightening your teeth because the agents are effective and the procedures more controlled compared with OTC bleaching kits.
Professional home bleaching
Your dentist can provide you with a customized professional bleaching kit you can use at home.
This is called home bleaching, matrix bleaching or vital bleaching.
You will place a drop of bleaching gel per tooth in the plastic tray.The tray will fit over your teeth and typically will need to be kept in place for 1 to 3 hours each day depending on your dentist’s recommendation.
Bleaching should be done only under a dentist’s care. Tooth-bleaching under controlled dental office conditions may be safe and effective.