What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is an umbrella term for different procedures. Procedures undertaken to remove stains from the teeth. The end result of these procedures is therefore the whitening of the teeth.
However there is a difference between teeth whitening procedures carried out by a dentist. And procedures done at home using over-the-counter products.
When carried out by a dentist, the actual procedure is known as a teeth bleaching procedure because bleach is used.
There are different bleaching agents that can be used such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.
Vital vs non-vital teeth whitening
Tooth whitening can also be vital or non-vital. Non-vital tooth whitening refers to whitening procedures carried on on teeth that have had a root canal treatment. Vital tooth whitening, on the other hand, refers to the whitening treatment of live teeth.
Why is teeth whitening done?
Teeth whitening aims to correct the colour of tooth enamel. Teeth discolouration can happen for a variety of reasons including:
- stain build-up over the years
- the default colour of your teeth is not as white as you'd like it to be
- consumption of certain foods and drinks
From the above, quitting smoking ought to be a higher priority than whitening.
External vs internal stains
Stains can also be external or internal. External stains, also known as extrinsic stains, are stains on the outer layer of the tooth. Generally speaking, these kind of stains are easy to remove either during a routine cleaning or through bleaching.
Internal stains, also known as intrinsic stains, are stains located within the interior of the tooth. These kinds of stains tend to be more difficult to remove.
When should you do teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening tends to be a cosmetic procedure rather than a medical one. This means that you can choose when to undergo this procedure. Since teeth whitening can be carried out in different ways, your dentist can give you valuable suggestions before you make your mind up.
Teeth whitening procedure
Teeth whitening procedures tend to have faster and more pronounced results when carried out at a clinic. This is due to the fact that dentists use more powerful chemicals, being able to do so safely.
The actual procedure will vary according to the method used. Your dentist should be able to recommend the best treatment available for your teeth and answer any questions you might have.