What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening, which is also called Dental Bleaching is a cosmetic process by which teeth can be whitened and lightened, to remove stains and discoloration and to give you a perfect smile without yellow teeth.

What is the difference between whitening and scaling?

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic process that whitens and brightens your teeth colour while Scaling is a procedure in which plaque, tartar and visible stains are removed from the exterior surface of your teeth. Scaling does not whiten teeth, but after the removal of stains the teeth might appear lighter.

When is teeth whitening necessary?

As we grow older, our teeth become darker due to our consumptions of tea, coffee, soda, smoking, etc leaving stains on our teeth.

Teeth’s whitening is necessary when your teeth have:-

  • Yellowish-colour
  • Stains
  • Pigmentation

What are the different methods of teeth whitening?

The different methods of teeth whitening include:-

  • Professional bleaching (by the dentist, dental therapist or hygienist)
  • Home bleaching (gels, mouth-wash, chewing gums, tooth pastes or custom made trays fabricated by your dentist)
  • Laser whitening (A hydrogen peroxide solution is painted on the teeth after which a strong light is passed over them, so as to speed up the lightening and whitening process)

Who can perform teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening should be performed only by a dentist or by a dental hygienist or therapist on prescription by a dentist.

How long does tooth whitening procedure take?

The length of time for the tooth whitening procedure depends on the amount of discolouration of your teeth and the concentration of peroxide in the product that you are using. Each method takes a different duration of time for teeth whitening.

The treatments performed by the dentist take around 30-90 minutes per session to lighten and brighten your teeth. The home kits take a few weeks. The laser whitening technique takes between 15 minutes to one hour to remove the discoloration from your teeth.

Can teeth whitening be done at home?

Yes, the procedure of teeth whitening can be performed at home using in home kits recommended by dentists. Dentist supervised home whitening custom made trays are made for your teeth, into which gel is poured which acts as the whitening agent. Also, numerous mouth rinses, chewing gums, tooth pastes are available, which act as whitening agents too.

Is tooth paste whitening effective?

The whitening tooth pastes remove certain surface stains like those of coffee, smoking, etc. So, if surface stains are the only cause of your teeth’s discolouration you can use a whitening tooth paste. However, these whitening tooth pastes are quite helpful after dental bleaching as they help maintain it.

How long does teeth whitening last?

The longevity of the teeth whitening depends on your maintenance. If you abstain from consuming beverages (tea, coffee, soda, etc), smoking and other things which lead to staining, teeth whitening lasts from six months to two years. However, you can touch up your teeth whitening every six months. Those who use custom made trays can touch up every 4-5 months by using the trays for a couple of days.

What are the side effects of teeth whitening?

The side effects of teeth whitening include:-

  • Sensitivity
  • Gum abrasion
  • Soft tissue irritation

Can a single discoloured tooth be whitened?

Yes, a single discoloured tooth can be whitened. Your dentist can provide you with a custom made tray for that one dark tooth or you can get an in-office treatment- where you get the option of getting it done in an hour through the process of laser bleaching or you can also opt the walking bleaching, in which the dentist will place the whitening agent in the custom made tray and you can get it out after 4-5 days.

Does tooth whitening damage existing dental fillings/ restorations?

Peroxide whiteners used in tooth whitening might lead to a certain roughness, hardness of texture in dental fillings and restorations leading to micro leakage and might also affect the bond strength of new fillings. Again, the teeth whitening will cause no change in colour of the filling or restorations but might change the colour of the original surrounding teeth, leading to certain patchiness in colour.

How can one prevent teeth stains?

One can prevent teeth stains by abstaining from consuming these:-

  • Avoid consumption of beverages like tea, coffee, soda, etc
  • Refrain from smoking
  • Refrain from chewing tobacco
  • Grape or cranberry juice also leaves stains
  • Red and white wine too contribute to teeth stains
  • Soy sauce and Tomato sauce too leave marks

However, one can consume these favourite foods of theirs, but they should make it a point to carefully brush and rinse their mouths afterwards.

Which foods are natural stain removers?

There are certain fruits and vegetables and foods available which act as natural stain removers and they include:-

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Hard Cheese

Besides this, one should regularly brush, rinse and floss one’s mouth and a visit to the dentist now and then is also recommended.

How much does tooth whitening cost?

The cost of tooth whitening varies from method to method. The professional bleaching or in-office whitening costs around Rs. 8000-9000 per cycle. The in-home whitening costs between Rs 5000- 10000. However, the Laser bleaching technique is quite expensive and costs between Rs 30000-50000.

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