Dental bleaching, also known as teeth whitening, is a common procedure in general dentistry. It is particularly common within the field of cosmetic dentistry. As a person ages their teeth will often become darker due to changes in the mineral structure of the tooth such as the enamel becoming less porous. Teeth can also become stained by bacterial pigments, food, liquid or tobacco. Certain antibiotic medications (like tetracycline) can also lead to teeth staining or damage to the enamel. Teeth whitening is a safe way to rectify these issues and improve the appearance of the teeth. Whitening must be done with the specialised equipment and under dental supervision.
There are two methods for teeth whitening:
1) Home Bleaching: You can perform bleaching in the comfort of your own home with the right equipment and under the instruction of your dentist. The dentist and his staff will take measurements of the teeth and prepare specialised whitening materials. Water-based bleaching chemicals are applied to the teeth before sleep. A dental mould secures the solution overnight and the teeth are whitened. This process is usually repeated over 7-10 days.
2) Dental Surgery Bleaching: Teeth whitening can also be performed by dentists at the clinic when more immediate results are desired. Whitening is performed under safe, surgical conditions using anaesthetic.
What are the correct conditions for Bleaching?
The bleaching process must always be carried out under professional instruction- even if home bleaching is being used. Instructions should be followed precisely. Any issues such as cracks, calculus or caries/cavities should be dealt with fully before bleaching. During the bleaching process, patients should avoid tea, coffee and smoking and should brush their teeth regularly. Your dentist will perform regular checks and maintenance to ensure the process is successful.
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