Bleaching is a dental process used to brighten the color of your own natural teeth and smile. This whitening procedure requires no removal, cutting or etching of your dental enamel. Products like tea, coffee, red wine, tobacco, and the natural aging of your denture turn them darker or stain them over time.
Professional dental whitening is performed with the aid of active oxygen, which decolorizes the distracting color pigments present in the tooth. Bleaching is a common and popular chemical process used to whiten teeth. Some people get their teeth bleached to make stains disappear, while other just want a whiter shade.
Discoloration occurs in the enamel and can be caused by medication, coffee, tea and cigarettes. Discoloration also can be hereditary or due simply to getting older.
Bleaching can be performed in the office (in the clinic under dental supervision) or at home. Many patients enjoy bleaching at home because it is more convenient. Treatment begins with fabrication of a custom tray to ensure the correct amount of whitening solution is used and that your teeth are properly exposed.
Typically, whitening at home takes two to four weeks, depending on the desired shade you wish to achieve. Whitening in the office may call for one or more 45-minute to 1 hour visits to your dentist’s office. An absolutely painless procedure, a dentist fixes a jewel on the tooth surface.
The Tooth Whitening Procedure
First, the gums are covered with a special rubber compound – this is done in order to protect them from the bleaching agent. It’s only possible to brighten one’s own natural teeth (crowns, bridges, or veneers can’t be bleached). This is one of the reasons why teeth whitening is the ideal starting point for a ceramic-technical provision.
After the gums have been covered and the denture has been dried, a solution is prepared by mixing two phases, which are then applied to your teeth. Prior to the whitening, it’s imperative that a dentist perform a check of the individual teeth, fillings and entire dental area; if necessary, faulty fillings must be replaced and/or a professional cleaning (oral hygiene) undertaken.
After the appropriate exposure time, the bleaching solution is removed and the mouth are rinsed with water. At this time, the gum protection is removed as well. A professional tooth whitening may be performed safely every two years.
Can I bleach my teeth during pregnancy or while nursing?
The teeth whitening effect in the gel is accomplished with peroxide which is merely water with an extra oxygen atom. It is the oxygen which whitens your teeth, somewhat as the oxidation of certain metals causes rust to form. The oxidation of your teeth causes them to whiten and may be harmful to minute tissues and cells. No studies up to now have documented any harm done to the fetus; however because pregnancy is such a delicate time for a baby many dentists warn against bleaching your teeth while pregnant. Keep in mind also that the earlier in term you are, the more delicate the fetus is, and during the bleaching process it is almost impossible not to swallow a little of the gel.
Most dentists agree that it is safe to whiten one’s teeth after the baby is born but still nursing, as the compound has no way of getting directly into the baby’s blood stream. Again however, there is much we do not yet know about how substances affect babies’ long term health. Thus, to be perfectly safe, you might decide you want to wait until after the baby is weaned to whiten your teeth.