Teeth whitening became common dental esthetic treatment nowadays. When causes of teeth discoloration are known proper esthetic treatment can be done, whit best possible outcome. After the consultation and clinical examination with your dentist, you will be advised for the best therapeutic options.
What are the causes of teeth discoloration?
Before you decide that you need teeth whitening you should be aware that the cause of teeth discoloration is one of the greatest challenges for successful whitening. There are many reasons why teeth may change color. In a first place, teeth color is genetically determined before your birth. The tooth consists of two types of hard mineral tissue called enamel and dentin. Enamel is a superficial layer and mostly translucent which means it has no color, while the dentin is the one that determines the color of our teeth and it is placed under the enamel. The teeth color that isgiven us by birth is something that we cannot change with teeth whitening but only with more invasive prosthetic procedures such as dental veneers and crowns.
As we grow old the teeth color will change due to mineral changes in hard dental tissues. Besides that, the consummation of food and drinks affect our teeth and color change. These are the main causes of teeth discoloration and the ones that we can easily manage with teeth whitening procedures. Consuming of food and drinks leads to the integration of pigments into teeth’s enamel. Depending on the pH values in the oral cavity, processes of demineralization and remineralization of enamel are present. When remineralization occurs, enamel absorbs the minerals from its surrounding but also the pigments form some food and drinks. These pigments become incorporated into hard dental tissue making our teeth darker than before. When talking about mineralization process it is important to emphasize discoloration caused by mineralization disturbances. These color changes are visible as yellowish-brown or white stains and can hardly betreated by bleaching agents.
Trauma is often the cause of teeth discoloration so as endodonticaly treated tooth. The mechanism that leads to discoloration in these cases is the same, whether we talk about trauma or endodontic treatment. Destruction of pulpal tissue inside the tooth causes extravasation of erythrocytes and their consequential destruction that leads to the appearance of bilirubin that has yellow pigment that stays captured inside dentine structure causing the affected teeth to change its color.
Some medication can also affect mineral dental tissue and cause the color change. One of the well known are tetracycline antibiotics. That is why the use of these antibiotics is restricted since they have the ability to deposit inside of human’s hard tissues such as bones and dentin. The color of tetracycline teeth is usually brownish to yellowish. These discolorations are huge challenge for whitening procedures and most often ends up with prosthodontics reconstruction.
What are the pretreatments for teeth
When the causes of teeth discoloration are established, teeth must be prepared for safe whitening procedure. This means that teeth must be clean, free of dental plaque or tart. Besides that, present fillings must be checked if they fit well or they might be some defects present. If your dentist notices some irregularities regard your fillings, they need to change old fillings with new ones before the whitening procedure.
The teeth whitening procedures.
There are few different types of professional teeth whitening. It can be external or internal and it can be performed in the dental office or at home with instruction and supervision of your dentist.
Internal bleaching is basically bleaching of endodonticaly treated teeth since we want to remove pigments from the dentin. After gingival protection – gingival dam is placed, the present dental filling is removed and bleaching agent is placed into the dental cavity and closed with a temporary filling. The patient is free to leave dental office and this technique is known as Walking Bleach Technique. The patients return to the dental office on every two days to change the bleaching agent until the full effect of bleaching is achieved.
External bleaching is the whitening technique that refers to placing a whitening agent on the tooth surface known as enamel. In this case, two types of dental agents may be used either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide which turns into hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide than decompose to water and oxygen. The oxygen is the crucial element in teeth whitening procedures since it retains pigments in enamel and releases them from enamel. In case of In-office teeth, whitening high-concentration agents are used and they can damage soft tissues if not used properly. To prevent any damage of oral mucous or gums the gingival dam is placed around the teeth in order to protect gums. Whitening agents are placed on the teeth surfaces. Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, whitening agents may be left there for 10 to 30 minutes. If light sources are used to cure the whitening agent, the treatment time can be reduced since light sources accelerate decomposition of hydrogen- peroxide. The procedure may be repeated up to 2 times in the same visit.
Another type of external bleaching is performed with the lower concentration of the whitening agent. For that purpose, firstly, the silicon splints are made for both jaws. These splints have small tanks for the whitening agent. Depending on the daily routine, the dentist prescribes appropriate concentration of bleaching agent and the patients place the whitening agent into their personal splints and wear them few hours during the day or entire night. This bleaching may take two to four weeks in order to achieve a full effect.
Is a teeth whitening safe procedure?
Yes! A teeth whitening is completely safe procedure if it’s carried out properly and under the supervision of your dentist. If all conditions are met and the teeth are properly prepared for whitening procedure there are no contraindications. Unless there are proven allergic reactions to whitening agents or known teeth sensitivity whitening can be safely performed. Sometimes the sensitivity occurs after the treatment and in that case teeth can be treated with desensibilizators that will help in reducing the sensitivity. Desensibilizators can be in form of a tooth paste rich in potassium nitrate or strontium chloride that can block dentinal canals and that way permanently prevent neural transmission to dental pulp. Some whitening products contain potassium nitrate and fluoride that can prevent sensitivity and impregnate enamel to be stronger and prone to caries.
What to do after teeth whitening?
Since the chemical reaction does not end when the whitening agent is removed but it lasts for next 48 hours, patients should be advised for proper food and drinks consuming. This is related to avoid consumption of colored food and drinks such as coffee, wine, teas, berries, tomato, beet etc. for the next two days. The sensitivity is often present after the treatment, which means that consumption of cold and warm groceries can cause slight discomfort that will disappear in next few days.