• Dental bleaching is also known as teeth whitening.
• Child’s deciduous teeth are generally whiter than the permanent teeth that follow.
• As a person ages the permanent teeth often become darker due to changes in mineral structure of teeth.
• Teeth can also become stained by bacterial pigments, food stuffs, Tobacco & certain antibiotic or medication (like tetracycline).
• Many methods to whiten teeth are bleaching strips, bleaching pens, bleaching gels, laser bleaching, and natural bleaching.
• A thin tray is fabricated by the dentist & given along with bleaching gels such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide which are use to lighten shade of teeth.
• Other home methods are bleaching strips that go over the front teeth.
• Chewing gums, rinses, tooth paste.
• Power bleaching method is used where light energy accelerates the process of bleaching. Effect of bleaching last for several months, but may vary depending on lifestyle of patient. Factors that decrease whitening include smoking & ingestion of dark colored liquids like coffee, tea, red wine.
Natural home aids to teeth whitening
• Lemon drops added to glass of water & rinse with this can help remove stains of teeth (Brushing teeth with lemon skin could cause pitting of enamel & enamel can wear out which causes severe sensitivity).
• Bicarbonate soda added to water & the paste used to brush teeth will help whiten teeth.
• Strawberries consumed once a day in a week or crushed strawberries applied to teeth also help as whiteners.
• Baking soda used is the reliable method for years to whiten teeth. Add baking soda with some salt & water. This paste makes a tried & proven whitening tooth paste.
Discoloration of teeth from inside out can take place because of internal staining of dentin. If heavy staining or tetracycline damage is present on patients teeth & whitening is ineffective. There are other methods of whitening teeth e.g. in bonding a thin coating of composite material is applied to the front of a person’s teeth & than cured with a blue light. Veneer can also mask tooth discoloration.
ADA recommends to have teeth checked by a dentist before undergoing any whitening method, dentist examines patient thoroughly take health & dental history (including allergies & sensitivities) observe hard & soft tissues,placement & condition of restorations. Bleaching is not recommended if teeth have decay or in infected gum.
No bleaching method can permanently whiten teeth & all require repeated treatment.
Tips to keep teeth clean & white
• Brush & floss regularly to reduce or prevent stains.
• Try whitening tooth paste (these may partially whiten teeth & not a complete remedy). It is important to use tooth paste with ADA or other recognized associations seal, as very few whitening tooth paste have undergone any type of clinical trial. Also some whitening tooth pastes are too abrasive & can damage teeth & make them sensitive.
• Regular dental cleaning from the dentist is also effective in removing food & tobacco stains.