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Teeth whitening (also called dental bleaching) is a process of whitening and lightening the teeth by removing any kind of stains or discoloration. It is a cosmetic procedure that mainly focuses on making the teeth look white, unlike scaling, a process that mainly involves the removal of plaque and tarter.
Many people develop darker spots on their teeth as they grow old due to continuous consumption of beverages like tea, coffee, soda, gutkah, pan masala etc. Smoking is another very common reason of pigmentation on teeth. Teeth whitening procedures work really well to remove the yellowish colour, pigmentation, or dark stains of the teeth.
Common teeth whitening procedures
The common teeth whitening procedures can be divided into three categories:
#1 Professional Bleaching
Professional bleaching is mainly performed by a dentist. The dentist can also refer the person to a dental hygienist or therapist. The duration of professional bleaching is directly proportional to the amount of discoloration as well as the quantity of peroxide that is being used. However, it generally does not take more than one and a half hours.
#2 Laser Whitening
Laser whitening is an advanced procedure that involves the application of hydrogen peroxide on the teeth. After its application, a strong laser light is passed over the teeth, which fastens the lightening process making the teeth look really white. The procedure takes around 15 minutes to 1 hour to get completed.
#3 Home Bleaching
One can also use whitening toothpastes, gels or mouthwashes at home to whiten his/her teeth. If the staining is not much and the stain is mainly on the surface, home bleaching is enough to remove the stains though it takes a few weeks. One can use whitening toothpaste after professional bleaching as it helps to maintain white teeth.
In certain cases, home bleaching is done under the supervision of a dentist. The procedure involves pouring of a gel in a custom-made tray, which acts as the whitening agent.
It is better to abstain from smoking and consumption of other beverages that lead to staining in order to retain the result of the teeth whitening procedure for a longer period of time.
There are a few side effects of teeth whitening as well.
- Teeth whitening increases the sensitivity of the teeth
- The procedure may also lead to abrasion of gum or soft tissue irritation.
Teeth whitening procedure can also whiten a single tooth that is discoloured. It can be done either by the process of laser bleaching or walking bleaching (The process involves bleaching of tooth from its inside).
The teeth whitening procedure is not very expensive. It costs around Rs 8,000 to 9,000 per cycle. Home bleaching costs around Rs 5,000. Laser bleaching is quite expensive and costs around Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000.
It is better to keep in mind that teeth whitening procedures work best on yellowish stains and is not that effective on brown and grey stains. Moreover, the procedure does not work well on crowns, porcelain restoration or any other material that is used to restore a tooth or replace it.