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Teeth Whitening / Bleaching

Bleaching is a safe, effective and economical way of achieving a bright smile. There are basically 2 types of bleaching agents available:

1. Hydrogen peroxide
2. Carbamide peroxide

Both are available in different concentrations ranging from 10% – 35%. Bleaching can be done either at home or one can get it done by a dentist.

Home bleaching systems would also require a dentist’s help. Dentist would get custom trays manufactured for the patient after taking impressions of the upper and lower teeth. Along with the bleaching tubes these trays are given to a patient with a specific concentration of bleach suiting individual needs. The bleach is put in trays as explained by the dentist and worn over the teeth for several hours to several weeks for achieving the correct or desired whitening of teeth. The carbamide peroxide penetrates the enamel into the dentine and effectively bleaches the teeth.

Some dentist provide with a in-office bleaching in which a higher concentration of the peroxide gel is placed over the teeth with gum protection to avoid burning the gums due to its higher concentration. Then the bleach is either chemically activated or activated with a light source (blue light). This treatment is faster than home bleaches and saves time in achieving the desired results but are expensive. Here, 35% hydrogen peroxide is used as an bleaching agent. A few things to remember before getting bleaching are:

1. Bleaching does not remove the tetracycline stains from the tooth surface.
2. It does not generally improve the flourosis appearance.
3. Bleaching does not remove the colour of dental decay or the discoloration caused by amalgam fillings.
4. Before getting the procedure done, old fractured fillings should be replaced. In case there are cervical lesions that is, at the gum line where the teeth and gums meet there can be enamel erosion in those areas causing sensitivity, if not filled beforehand.
5. Post bleaching sensitivity is also frequently encountered. But it is transient. With the use of high fluoride tooth paste it reduces the complaint.

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