Teeth whitening involve either the whitening of discoloured teeth to its natural shade or the whitening to go beyond the natural shade. Dull or discoloured teeth have nothing to do with how healthy your teeth are. Totally healthy teeth may need the teeth whitening procedure done to restore the underlying natural teeth shade. This can be done by removing the layer of stains on the outer surface of teeth and also calculus of tartar.
There are generally two types of stains extrinsic and intrinsic stains. Yellow teeth stains that are caused over the years is called as the intrinsic stain. In this kind of dental stain, the dentin's tan is revealed after the enamel wears off and it gives it a yellowish off-white colour. Antibiotics such as tetracycline or even the excessive exposure of teeth to fluorine (fluorosis) can cause intrinsic stains.
Stains on your teeth that are caused by factors such as coffee, red wine, tea, smoking or tobacco are types of extrinsic stains. By the removal of this stain from the surface of the teeth, the underlying natural tooth colour can be restored. This can be done by the dentist by cleaning the teeth and this process is professionally called 'scale and polish'. This can also be done at home by taking care of your oral hygiene and using products that are aimed at this problem. Calculus or tartar is a hardened dental plaque and is fairly difficult to remove and needs a professional for that purpose.
Teeth whitening can be done at home or in-office.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
Before a dentist proceeds to perform the teeth whitening procedure, he takes all the required information about the patient's overall health and dental health history, along with allergies and sensitivity of their teeth. Also, an examination is performed by the professional to observe the placement and restorations of the teeth and x-rays are done to determine the nature and depth of irregularities if any. The whitening shade guide helps in determining the shade of the patient's teeth and how light they want to go with the colour.
In-office teeth whitening procedure can lighten teeth from two to eight shades. They whitening will last up to eight months but it mostly depends on the patient’s lifestyle. Therefore, it is also important that after the whitening procedure the patient takes precautions to avoid foods and medicines that can stain the teeth. A light-cured protective layer is used it protect the soft tissues such as the gums and papilla which are the gum tips between the teeth. This is required because otherwise, it may cause chemical burns to these soft tissues. The most popular bleaching agents used are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide which breaks down in the patient's mouth as hydrogen peroxide.
Laser teeth whitening or light accelerated teeth bleaching user laser light to accelerate teeth whitening procedure in the dental office. Most common type of technology used in the laser is halogen arc, plasma arc and LEDs. The high energy in laser beams excites the peroxide particles and facilitates the whitening process. Many products and devices are available in pharmacies that aim at the same thing. Hence, it can be done at home as well.
At Home Teeth Whitening
Many products are aimed at teeth whitening and can be used for this purpose such as chewing gums, toothpaste, whitening strips, pain-on-films, gels and rinses. Most of the Pharmacy sold teeth whitening products use bleaching agents such as carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide and their effectiveness depends on the concentration of these chemicals.
Natural ways can also be adopted for this purpose such as use of malic acid, which is found in juices of green apples. Although excessive use of malic acid can dissolve the teeth enamel to show the yellow dentin underneath. This can lead to a further darkening of the teeth. Food products such as carrots, apples and celery, on the other hand, causes excessive saliva production which further, lightens the teeth by mechanically cleansing. They also maintain fresh breath by killing bacteria present in the mouth.