What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is the process of removing pigments which give yellow color to the teeth.
There may be various reasons for teeth discoloration and stains. Over time, depending on the frequent consumption of colorant food and liquids (tea, coffee, cigarettes, etc.), yellow-brown staining may be observed on the teeth; during development, color change may occur depending on the use of antibiotics or trauma. It is also known that the teeth treated with root canal treatment have a grayish color change over the years due to the loss of water.
Who can benefit from whitening treatment? What factors should be considered?
The bleaching process takes place on the layers of enamel. Before starting the procedure, the dentist should analyze in detail whether the teeth are suitable for whitening. The whitening agent should not contact any other layer of the tooth than the enamel. The enamel fracture on the tooth surface, caries, old fillings should be treated before whitening and the patient should be informed about this. In some patients, due to various reasons, the enamel layer becomes very thin, and even the dentin is exposed. These cases would not be suitable for whitening. In addition, whitening can be applied in a professional setting to protect the gums and root surfaces of the patients with common gum withdrawal issues.
How is a teeth whitening performed?
Whitening can be done by two different methods: in-offie and at-home. Office type whitening is applied by the dentist in the clinic. The ratio of the bleaching agent in in-office whitening is much higher than the household bleaching agent. In this way, effective whitening is achieved in a short time. First, a barrier is applied to protect the gums. Then, the teeth on the laughing line are treated with a whitening agent and activated with laser. The procedure is continued for 2 or 3 sessions, 20 minutes per session, until the desired whiteness is reached.
For at-home whitening, the teeth are measured, and a custom-made tray is prepared specifically for the patient. This tray contains a whitening agent suitable for the at-home whitening, as prepared by the dentist. The whitening agent is then placed on clean teeth for 6-8 hours. As the ratio of the bleach is lower, 2-3 weeks of use would be necessary to reach the desired whiteness. Patients may chooce to undergo at-home dental bleaching only or in combination with in-office whitening to extend the duration of effect.
Is it possible to whiten a single tooth?
Trauma, pre-existing canal treatment, old amalgam fillings, drainage of the canal filler to dentin channels, or fluorosis can be counted among the causes of single tooth discoloration. Teeth following canal treatment or trauma would be expected to lose their vitality and become dental. Single tooth whitening is also known as devital bleaching. First, the canal treatment of the tooth is checked; canal treatment is performed, if not already done before the whitening. After the necessary radiographic examinations and treatments are completed, an ingression from the posterior surface of the tooth is placed. From this opening, the old fillings of the teeth and all pulp tissues are cleaned and washed with dental solutions. The whitening agent is placed in the tooth and sealed with a leak-proof temporary dental filler and is left there for 3-7 days. The same procedure is repeated for multiple sessions until the tooth color reaches its desired whiteness. After the tooth is whitened, the posterior opening is permanently closed with fillers.