Just as people have different skin and hair color, people also have different tooth color. Some teeth are more yellow, and some teeth yellow with aging. Natural tooth color can be discolored by a number of causes. The surface of the tooth can be stained by tobacco, certain foods and beverages such as coffee, tea and berries, and by deposits of calculus or tartar. Discoloration of the tooth internally can result from aging, injury, excessive fluoride, certain illnesses and taking the antibiotic tetracycline during early childhood.
Does bleaching the teeth really work? In a word, YES!
The different forms of dental bleaching:
ZOOM ! the popular 1 hour whitening system of the U.S.A :
Instructions for Home Bleaching
Bleaching is used to enhance your smile by brightening your existing natural teeth. Bleaching will not make crowns, Veneers/Laminates, bonding or existing fillings lighter. If you bleach and have these type of restorations in your smile line you may want to have these changed after you bleach. When you start to bleach we typically have you bleach your upper teeth first when you are bleaching both upper & lower teeth. This will provide you with a comparison so you know just how much your teeth are whitening. Bleaching usually takes 1-2weeks for the complete result. We cannot predict the exact level of shade changes you will have with bleaching, but it will always make your teeth lighter.
Brush and floss teeth thoroughly prior to placing the tray in your mouth.
Place small drop of gel in tray at each tooth site where whitening is desired.
Seat tray completely and firmly onto teeth.
Wipe off excess gel with toothbrush or clean finger.
Trays are to be worn overnight.
When trays are removed, rinse with cool water and remove residual material and store in case. Keep your trays out of the sunlight and heat. Excessive heat can melt the trays. Do not store them in your car during the warm summer months.
Brush and rinse remaining gel from teeth after Bleaching.
Remove tray prior to eating.
You will have enough material to bleach both upper and lower teeth for 1-2 weeks.
High concentration bleach in custom made trays : This is the type of system that you can get at the dentist's office. The bleaching material must be applied using the custom trays that the dentist makes for you. Because of the high concentration of the agent, and the close approximation with the teeth made possible by the trays, this system produces very good results in anywhere from several hours to several weeks of regular use. The agents have been improved and strengthened over the years, and now the process is fairly easy. It is not uncommon for the teeth to become slightly sensitive following bleaching treatments.
In-office bleaching (Power bleaching) : Some offices offer a quick start bleaching procedure in which a concentrated peroxide gel is placed on the teeth and allowed to remain in place while heated with a light or a laser. Treatments like this tend to be faster. The tray method can achieve the same or better results, (albeit over a greater length of time) with the added benefit of total patient control of the degree of bleaching desired. They can use the trays as long as they want, and keep them around for touch-ups later.
Whitening toothpastes : These are over-the-counter preparations that have a low concentration of carbamide peroxide. They are very useful, however in maintaining the whitening achieved by using trays and other dental office bleach.
What bleaching can't do :
Bleaching will not bleach out the black, brown or white color imparted to teeth due to decay. Teeth should be treated before bleaching is performed.
Bleaching will not bleach out darkness imparted to teeth by old amalgam fillings. Removing the old metal filling and replacing it with a new composite will usually accomplish this, but if the tarnish has penetrated deeply into the tooth structure, the tooth may remain permanently discolored.
Bleaching will not generally improve the appearance of fluorosis if the patient grew up in a part of the country (before the 1960's) that had a high concentration of fluoride in the drinking water. This problem is also prevalent in patients who "ate" a lot of fluoride toothpaste when they were toddlers.
Bleaching is ineffective in reducing the irregular gray horizontal lines seen on patients with tetracycline stain in their tooth structure. Tetracycline stain is seen primarily in older patients who received tetracycline to treat ear infections when they were infants and toddlers. Physicians in those days did not know that this drug would incorporate itself into the developing teeth of children causing this deformity.
Teeth affected by tetracycline stains or by fluorosis can be made whiter by veneers.