Tooth whitening is among the most popular procedures in cosmetic dentistry. This safe, effective, low-cost process helps to change the color of the teeth significantly and improves their aesthetic appearance. Tooth whitening can be carried out on a live tooth or on one where a root canal has been done, while the whitening process can be performed by the patient at home, by the dentist in the dental field or combination of the two above.
Tooth Whitening, Introduction
The outer surface of the tooth is called enamel and has tiny microscopic holes which trap everyday stains. The most common reasons why discoloration can occur are:
drinking tea, coffee or red wine
food with strong coloring
natural act of ageing
a tooth which is damaged by trauma
some teeth are naturally pigmented or stained as they develop
Types of Tooth Whitening
Tooth whitening can be carried out in the dental office and / or home and concerns a healthy or a canalled tooth. In most cases the bleaching agent is applied to the tooth surface in a gel form. This gel will begin to work upon contact with the tooth or will be activated using a laser light.
Bleaching Agent and Mechanism of Action
The agent used for bleaching teeth is carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide at different yields. Carbamide peroxide upon contact with the tooth enamel disintegrates into hydrogen peroxide and urea and then hydrogen peroxide decomposes into water and reactive hydroxyl ions. These ions cause whitening after the particles adhere to discolorations and solvents.
Bleaching Teeth at Home
For whitening at home, the dentist takes impressions of teeth for manufacturing the mouth guard. At home the patient fills each mouth guard with bleaching gel that has been given to them by the dentist and wears it for at least two hours daily. In most instances, the desired result is achieved in one or two weeks. However, the patient should continue wearing the mouth guard for four weeks or more.
Bleaching Teeth in the Dental Office
Whitening can be carried out in your dentist’s office. This way your teeth will be several shades lighter in one to two hours. There are many methods used to achieve whiter teeth whilst in the dental chair, all the methods follow a similar procedure. Your gums will be protected using a rubber coating and a peroxide based gel will be applied to your teeth. The gel will begin to work upon contact with the tooth or will be activated using a laser light. After a period of time the gel and the protective coating are removed to reveal whiter teeth.
Teeth Whitening on a Root Canalled Tooth
Improving the appearance of a tooth that has had root canal work done to it requires the application of a slightly different technique with which the tooth whitening begins from its interior. The dentist applies a bleaching agent in the tooth and then clogs the tooth with temporary filling material leaving it to stand for several days. This process will result in either a single application or will need to be repeated until the tooth obtains the desired shade.
Tooth Whitening, Adverse Actions
Tooth whitening is a perfectly safe procedure. Global scientific literature has been published by prestigious scientific organizations, more than 10,000 research papers that relate to bleaching without a single report of damage. The side effects of bleaching are rare, although the teeth of some patients (less than 7%) are likely to be more sensitive for a short time (2-3 days) and is also likely to cause a transient slight irritation of the gums (less than 1%). During pregnancy whitening preventive contraindicated, as the impact of bleaching materials on fetal development are not yet known.
The Tooth Bonding is the most advanced, fast and painless dental repair process of acquired or inherent imperfections of the teeth. The material used in bonding the composite resin restoration may be direct (a session) or indirect. The cosmetic imperfections that can be treated by the process of Tooth Bonding include:
gaps between teeth (intervals)
repair uneven teeth
slightly crooked teeth