The white teeth will give the beautiful smile an attractiveness that is unimaginable. Stained teeth or teeth that have become yellow over time can destroy all that we have in mind about beautiful look for our teeth. Teeth whitening or bleaching is the common stain removal process to whiten the teeth. There are many ways to benefit from white teeth like teeth crowning, bonding, veneers and other restorative dental procedure. Bleaching teeth is the cheapest way for having brighter teeth.

Different types of teeth stains

Stains on teeth are in two forms. There are teeth stains that are within the structure of teeth or intrinsic and stains that are on just the surface of our teeth, which are called extrinsic stains.

Factors that cause extrinsic stains on teeth:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Eating high colored foods and drinks like coffee, tea and red wine
  • The heavy smoking and the formation of tars as a result of nicotine and tobacco
  • Even foods that are rich in carbs like potatoes can cause the stains on outer surface of our teeth
  • Chromogenic bacteria or bacteria in any other dietary sources that produce color
  • Although mouth rinses that contain chlorhexidine are good for gum health, the chlorhexidine in these mouthwashes can cause stains on teeth
  • Metal supplements in medications

Causes of intrinsic stains on teeth:

  • Enamel defects like enamel hypoplasia or other enamel deficiencies that allow for chromogenic bacteria penetration into the teeth
  • Dental injuries that have caused endodontic problems, resulting in blood cell breakdown in the teeth.
  • Aging and tooth wear over time can facilitate dental stain formation
  • Tooth Restorations like amalgam fillings that cause dark or gray discolorations
  • Root resorption or infections in the root of the teeth
  • The use of medications can also lead to dental stains like tetracycline staining
  • Other genetic and systemic diseases that have caused deficiencies in the structure of teeth

Teeth whitening treatments

If we know the type of teeth stains, we can easily find treatment ways to whiten the discolored teeth.

In-office bleaching (in-office teeth whitening)

In-office bleaching is the name for the whitening procedure in the dentist’s office. The process starts by taking photograph of the teeth or the tooth that require whitening. These photographs and color shading for matching is necessary for after bleaching photos. Patients can see the results and will be happy of their bright teeth. The process continues with surface cleaning of teeth and drying saliva in the mouth. Dentists use resin barriers to protect the gums before application of bleaching materials.

Wrapping the soft tissues around the teeth is done to protect lips and other interior parts of cheeks. After that, hydrogen peroxide, which is the bleaching material to whiten the teeth, is applied on teeth. The bleaching material should remain on teeth for about 40 minutes or it may take 1 hour. The dentist use light to speed up the process of materials activation. To decrease teeth sensitivity and better mineralization, dentists use sodium fluoride gel as the finishing process of in-office teeth whitening.

At-home bleaching

Home teeth whitening is gaining popularity due to its easiness and cheaper costs compared to in-office whitening.

Although the procedure is called home bleaching, you need visits to the dentists to have your whitening process checked. In the first visits, dentists use impressions and casting techniques to fabricate the correct size tray. You should wear this custom-made tray during nights for greater efficiency. The carbamide peroxide, which is an at-home teeth bleaching material, is applied on the tray. Then you wear the tray. Check out the amount of material for those teeth that need more whitening. You can wear the tray regularly during your sleep.

How long does teeth whitening by bleaching techniques take?

As we said, the in-office bleaching is the fastest way to achieve the whiter teeth. It can take 1 or more sessions to get to the brighter teeth. But even repeating the procedure in the future may be necessary.

For at-home bleaching, getting to a white-looking tooth may need 1 night time wearing or it can take weeks and months to gain pleasing results.

Repetition of the whitening process depends on the level of the stains on teeth. Normal teeth need less time and heavily stained teeth take much more of your time.         

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