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Bleaching: when and for whom?

Bleaching or teeth whitening is a dental care procedure to clean the stains on the outer layer of the teeth formed from food, drink, or tobacco consumption. This treatment whitens the surface of the teeth using hydrogen peroxide for a brighter smile. The substances used in this procedure release oxygen. As the oxygen is released, the color of the outer layer gets whiter. This procedure gives a healthier look and radiance to your smile.

Whitening should be performed on patients with healthy gums and good overall oral hygiene. As a cosmetic procedure, bleaching might not be suitable for the needs of the oral state of every patient.

Today, there are many teeth whitening methods that patients can apply on their own or use by a physician.

Whether to pursue whitening treatment or to choose the appropriate method should be decided in consultation with a professional.

Whitening Toothpaste

With the abrasive chemicals in their formula, these kinds of toothpaste help to remove the stains. Since these pastes do not contain hydrogen peroxide, a whitening agent, they do not penetrate the deep layers of the teeth and can only remove superficial stains. These whitening toothpaste can lighten the color of the teeth up to one shade. In comparison, the methods used by a dental physician in a professional setting can lighten the color of the teeth up to eight shades.

Whitening Gels and Tapes

Whitening gels are peroxide-based substances that are applied on the surface of the teeth with small brushes by the patient. The patient must use these twice a day for two weeks to get the desired results. Whitening tapes are invisible transparent tapes coated with peroxide-based gel and are stuck on the teeth’ surface by the patient. In both methods of whitening, the first results are achieved typically in the span of a few days. In contrast, the final results might take around four months to show. However, these methods are not recommended to patients since they are not performed under the control of, and a physician does not thoroughly examine the contents of the whitening agents used.

Teeth Whitening Treatments That Can Be Administered at Home

These are treatments that are administered under the supervision of a dentist. The physician prepares the appropriate personal oral plaque for the patient on the model built upon the measurements taken from the patient. The patient applies these plaques lain with a peroxide-based gel formula whose contexts are checked by the dentist for four weeks. Duration of application depends on the color and intensity of the stains, the time that a good lightening in teeth color takes, and any sensitivity that might occur during the procedure.

Whitening Treatments That Are Administered at a Dentist’s Office

Whitening methods used in a professional setting are the most effective and fast bleaching available. In this method, the whitening product is applied directly to the teeth. To protect the gums and soft tissues from the abrasive effects of the whitening agent, the dentist uses a protective gel or covers the gums with rubber. The whitening agents in this method are coupled with particular types of light and laser therapy. This method offers the swiftest results, with agents showing their effects in an hour. Suppose no heat or light is applied on top of the whitening agent. In that case, the whitening substance can be administered more than once to achieve the best results.

What are the Differences Between Bleaching Treatments Administered at Home and in a Medical Setting? 

Less abrasive bleaching agents are used in the bleaching treatments administered at home. These gels contain urea peroxide with percentages ranging from 10% to 22%, which have almost the same potency as gel with a concentration of 3% hydrogen peroxide. In comparison, in treatments administered by a dentist in a medical setting, agents that contain 15-43% hydrogen peroxide solution provide the best and fastest results. The professionally controlled environment in which these treatments are administered is another advantage. In treatments administered at home by the patient, custom-made plaques are used to apply the agent. The patient applies the agent to their teeth by putting the gel into these plaques. Although these customized plaques ease the application at home, due to the unsupervised nature of this method and patients’ unfamiliarity with the procedure, leaks to gums can occur and cause tissue sensitivity and minimal abrasions. In ways administered in medical settings, on the other hand, additional care is taken to protect the gums, and any damage to untargeted areas is prevented. There is a slight difference between the costs of home and office-based treatments. This difference is mainly due to the highly controlled nature of the professionally administered treatments, the higher concentration of the agents used, and the resulting speed and safety of these treatments that ensure an optimal patient experience.

The cause of discoloration and staining in the teeth should be known. Accordingly, The professional should decide whether the patient is suitable for teeth whitening or not. If appropriate, the appropriate whitening method and materials should be selected and provided by the dentist.

In physician-assisted whitening treatments, patients and physicians should be in constant contact. The physician should check the plaque’s fit and stability in the patient’s mouth.

Following Whitening Treatment: The “Do”s and “Do Not”s

Patients should avoid extremely cold or hot food and drinks for the few days following the whitening. After the procedure, each patient has a diet list to follow. All kinds of coloring foods or beverages are prohibited. Although the first three days are the most important, these restrictions should ideally be observed for a week to ten days.

Products that cause teeth staining, such as tobacco products, tomato paste, red wine, tea, coffee, caramel, and tomato paste, should be avoided for a week following the procedure. If this regimen is followed loosely or ignored, the whitened teeth will return to their original state in a short time.

Who Should Not Undergo Whitening Treatment? 

Teeth whitening or bleaching should not be performed on patients under sixteen. The nerves of the pulp chamber and tooth are the largest in patients of this age. If bleaching is performed, the pulp becomes irritated, excessive sensitivity occurs, and the results that reach the canal treatment may occur.

Whitening should not be performed on pregnant women, patients with oversensitive teeth, patients with gums, receding due to gum disease, and patients allergic to whitening agent peroxide.

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