Discoloration of teeth is caused due to many reasons, stains caused by coffee or tobacco being one of them. Sometimes, damage to nerves or blood vessels underneath the teeth also results in stained, discolored teeth. Smoking is yet another factor that contributes to this. The color of teeth also fades naturally during the aging process. However, all these undesirable effects can be reversed by taking professional help for teeth whitening.
External method of teeth whitening includes applying a bleaching gel or whitening gel on the exterior surface of the tooth. There are three mechanisms by which this process works.
- The first mechanism is called ‘home bleaching’, which is more or less similar to any other teeth whitening method. Your dentist will give you a custom-made rubber mouth tray to exactly fit your dental cavity, along with tubes of bleaching gel, which you are supposed to fill in the mouth tray. You will have to put the mouth tray on for a few hours everyday, for some weeks, to achieve the desired effect.
- The second method is called ‘power’ or ‘laser’ method. In this method, bleaching gel is applied on the surfaces of your teeth, and then a laser or very high intensity light is used to enhance the effect of the gel. You may be given rubber sealing to prevent your gums from getting exposed to the laser.
- The third method uses a combination of the first two. The home bleaching may precede or succeed the power bleaching method. The results will largely depend upon the type of products used, and the expertise of your dentist.
The external bleaching method is not effective when discoloration is due to metal fillings or damaged blood vessels.
Unlike external bleaching, the internal teeth bleaching method also works for teeth with damaged blood vessels. First the teeth are root treated by replacing the damaged blood vessels with rubber fillings. Then, the dentist drills a hole in your teeth, mostly at the back so that it is not visible, and fills the hole with the bleaching product, which sits inside the tooth. This filling is temporary and is required only to get a desired shade. If you are happy with the new shade, the filling will be replaced by a new and permanent bleaching product, which matches the desired shade. However, you may not get the expected result in the first sitting and may have to visit your dentist a few times for the same.
Professional teeth whitening methods are becoming increasingly popular due to their good results. People prefer them to over-the-counter products, since they give nearly permanent results.