Dental bleaching, also known as tooth whitening, is a common procedure in general dentistry but most especially in the field of cosmetic dentistry.
A child's deciduous teeth are generally whiter than the adult teeth that follow. As a person ages the adult teeth often become darker due to changes in the mineral structure of the tooth, as the enamel becomes less porous. Teeth can also become stained by bacterial pigments, tobacco, some foods and beverages. Certain antibiotic medications (like tetracycline) can also cause teeth stains or a reduction in the brilliance of the enamel.
There are many methods to whiten teeth. At Sansone Dental Practice we offer two methods of bleaching. We have an in-office treatment which takes two visits. On the first visit we will take impressions to make custom trays which you can use to refresh your bleaching when you wish to. On the second visit our hygienist will spend one and a half hours with you performing the whitening procedure. She will apply the whitening gel and use an activation light.
With our take home whitening system you will come in for impressions to make your custom trays. When you come on the second visit you will be given the bleach and trays. We will also instruct you in the usage. Depending on the results you are trying to achieve, it will take 2 - 3 weeks during which time we will check you to make sure everything is going well
Oxidizing agents such as carbamide peroxide are used to lighten the shade of the tooth. The oxidizing agent penetrates the porosities in the rod-like crystal structure of enamel and oxidizes interprismatic stain deposits; over a period of time, the dentin layer, lying underneath the enamel, is also bleached. Power bleaching uses light energy to accelerate the process of bleaching in a dental office. The effects of bleaching can last for several months, but may vary depending on the lifestyle of the patient. Factors that decrease whitening include smoking and the ingestion of dark colored liquids like coffee, tea and red wine.
Internal staining of dentin can discolor the teeth from inside out. Internal bleaching can remedy this. If heavy staining or tetracycline damage is present on a patient's teeth, and whitening is ineffective, there are other methods of whitening teeth. Bonding, when a thin coating of composite material is applied to the front of a person's teeth and then cured with a blue light can be performed to mask the staining. A veneer can also mask tooth discoloration.