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Tooth Whitening: Overview

Woman smile, teeth
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Introduction to tooth whitening

Teeth whiteningThe way our teeth look is of great importance to many people. When teeth become discoloured, especially when they become darker, there is a lot of time and money that is invested into improving the colour of our teeth. Teeth whitening or bleaching techniques involve the application of a bleaching agent which diffuses through the tooth enamel and results in whitening.

For more information, see Tooth Whitening.

Home bleaching

Home bleachingHome bleaching essentially involves going to the dentist, getting a set of trays for your teeth, and then applying bleach into those trays to whiten your own teeth. Home bleaching can be done in the convenience of your own home, and is usually more affordable than other options.

For more information, see Home Bleaching.

Assisted bleaching

Assisted bleachingAssisted bleaching is similar to bleaching your teeth at home, except that it is done in the dental clinic and often uses higher concentrations of bleaching agents. It can be performed as a “one-off treatment” or as a series of treatments depending on your needs. It is very rarely done as a series of treatments.

For more information, see Assisted Bleaching.

Power bleaching

Power bleachingBleaching that is done in the clinic, where immediate results are expected, is called power bleaching. Power bleaching often uses hydrogen peroxide, an activating light or laser, and also requires a rubber dam or tissue dam to be placed to protect the gums.

For more information, see Power Bleaching.

Walking bleach technique

Walking bleach techniqueThe walking bleach technique is used to whiten teeth that have had root canal treatments. Root canal treatments may discolour teeth due to the materials used to fill the root canal, discolouration breakdown of blood in the root canal, or medications used in the root canal during the treatment. The walking bleach technique involves bleaching the tooth from the inside of the tooth.

For more information, see Walking Bleach Technique.

Thermocatalytic technique

Thermocatalytic techniqueThe thermocatalytic technique is applied to teeth that have had root canal treatments. It involves bleaching the tooth from the inside of the tooth. It is similar to the walking bleach technique, except that it uses a thermal light to activate the bleaching agent.

For more information, see Thermocatalytic Technique.

Tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivityTooth sensitivity can be classified into two categories: one may indicate a problem with the tooth’s nerve and blood supply (the root canal); and the other may be caused by the exposure of dentine, resulting in dentine hypersensitivity. Tooth sensitivity can be a side effect of teeth whitening.

For more information, see Tooth Sensitivity.

Smoking and your mouth

Effect of smoking on the mouthSmoking has a part to play in several diseases and lesions in the mouth, the most common being gum disease. Smoking can also stain teeth and dental fillings, cause tooth decay, reduce your ability to smell and taste, and give you bad breath.

For more information, see Effect of Smoking on the Mouth.

My experience: Emma shares the best and worst of whitening

My experience: Teeth whiteningLike all brides, Emma wanted to look spectacular on her wedding day, which meant that her teeth had to match her dress. So Emma took a punt on a new cosmetic treatment and came up trumps with a beautiful new smile for the ceremony. However, she warns us there is always a price to pay for beauty, even if it is small.

To read Emma’s story, see Teeth Whitening: Emma shares the best and worst of whitening.

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Posted On: 7 May, 2010
Modified On: 30 March, 2017


Created by: myVMC