What Is Teeth Whitening?

What Is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is an aesthetic treatment method applied to restore the tooth surface, which has changed color due to internal or external reasons, to its natural whiteness.

Bright, white teeth are an indicator of health and aesthetically beautiful smiles. Although whitening treatment applied to teeth that lose their whiteness over time cannot fully restore the teeth to their bright whiteness, close tones are achieved.

Teeth lose their whiteness for many reasons. Genetic factors, antibiotics exposed to prenatal or infancy, excessive fluoride intake, developmental disorders, food and beverages consumed, smoking, the appearance of yellowish colored dentin by abrasion of tooth enamel as we age, the appearance of dentin by breaking the enamel due to the habit of clenching teeth, tooth decay, discoloration caused by root canal treatment, etc. Teeth can lose their whiteness due to reasons. Discoloration due to external reasons is usually caused by poor oral care.

Teeth whitening is carried out as a result of the reaction of hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide, sodium perborate, sodium bicarbonate or sodium hypochlorite chemicals. The specialist dentist determines the type of chemical suitable for the treatment. It is usually applied in gel form. While the low concentration gel is applied by the patient himself/herself in plaques in home treatment, the high concentration gel is applied by the dentist in the clinic.

Non-aggressive whitening treatments performed by specialized dentists with the appropriate concentration are harmless. Aggressive extremely high-concentration whitening can cause erosion, mineral degradation, permanent sensitivity and pulp damage while providing temporary whitening. In addition, aggressive bleaching can damage the stability of these restorations as a result of the reaction of the bleaching gel with materials previously used in different treatments such as crowns and veneers.

In the pre-treatment examination, calculus formations are examined to obtain a more effective white shade on the teeth. If necessary, whitening treatment is started after the tartar is removed.

According to the techniques and application methods used, it is divided into office (clinical), home and mixed (home + office) type.

In office type teeth whitening treatment, a high concentration gel is applied. Before the whitening gel is used, the gum is protected from the gum line. The treatment lasts shorter than other methods. The reaction time is shortened by activating the whitening gel with laser or 480-520 nm intense blue light, so that the treatment is completed in about an hour.

In home-type treatment, it is aimed for the patient to whiten their teeth in their own comfort environment. In the clinic, transparent trays are prepared according to the mouth measurements taken from the patient after the examination.

Whitening gel in the amount and concentration determined by the dentist is applied to the inside of the trays. In home treatment, patients should keep the trays in the mouth for at least 4-6 hours a day and continue to apply for 2 weeks. For patients who use aligners during night sleep, 10 days of treatment is considered sufficient.

Mixed-type treatment is completed with 3-4 days of home-type treatment after office-type treatment.

All treatment methods should be performed when the teeth are dry and clean after oral care. Since the surrounding tissues as well as the tooth may be affected during the treatment, preserving the health of the structural integrity should be a priority.

The fillings of the teeth that change color after root canal treatment are removed, whitening gel is applied and covered with a temporary filling. Sessions are repeated until the desired white tone is reached.

After the treatment, side effects such as sensitivity to hot and cold, staining on the gum line and sore throat disappear in less than two days. If the side effects last longer than two days, an examination is required.

Teeth whitening is a temporary treatment method. While permanent whiteness can be achieved for up to 1 year with good oral care, whiteness can be achieved for up to 3 months if oral care and foods consumed are not paid attention. Good oral care and periodic repetition of the treatment will prolong the whitening period.