Tooth Whitening or Bleaching is a procedure used to describe “changing the color” (whitening) of teeth using chemicals like carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide as whiteners.
Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellowish hued teeth will probably bleach well, brownish-colored teeth may bleach less well, and grayish-hued teeth may not bleach well at all. If you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth the whitener will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. You may want to investigate other options, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding.
If you are a candidate for whitening there are several ways to whiten your smile:
In-office bleaching. This procedure is called chairside bleaching and usually requires only one office visit. The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth, and a special light may be used. Lasers have been used during tooth whitening procedures to enhance the action of the whitening agent.
At-home bleaching. Peroxide-containing whiteners actually bleach the tooth enamel. They typically come in a gel and are placed in a plastic stent that fits the teeth. Usage regimens vary. There are potential side effects, such as increased sensitivity or gum irritation. Talk to us if you have any concerns.
Whitening toothpastes. All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives "Whitening" toothpastes in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program have special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these ADA Accepted products do not change the color of teeth because they can only remove stains on the surface.