Teeth that have been darkened and stained can be lightened by whitening, a treatment that involves an effective combination of whitening gel and light activation in order to reach the desired tooth shade within a short period of time, without damaging the teeth at all. The active agent (hydrogen peroxide) penetrates the tooth and oxidizes the organic tissue that caused the discoloring.
Prior to whitening, it is important to undergo a dental hygiene treatment in order to remove stains caused by substances such as coffee, nicotine and food coloring, which may improve the state of the teeth even before they are whitened. The primary reason for the discoloration of the teeth include poor hygiene, consumption of large quantities of dark colored beverages (cola, tea, coffee, etc.), medications, smoking and genetic factors. The degree of lightening is not uniform, and is dependent on the source of the discoloration and its severity. As a result, sometimes a combination of several methods is required; in cases of severe discoloration, the treatment can be performed in a series of appointments. The dentist will be able to determine what the starting point will be, but only time will tell the degree of whitening that the patient will be able to achieve.
The tooth whitening process is composed of three primary methods:
1. Whitening in situ - performed at the clinic
Whitening at the clinic is done using an effective combination of whitening gel and light activation, so that the desired shade of tooth color is achieved within a short period of time. The active agent (hydrogen peroxide) penetrates the tooth and oxidizes the organic tissue which caused the discoloration. The whitening is done in one appointment at the clinic, and offers long term results.
2. At-Home Whitening – performed at home
At-home whitening involves the use of trays formed to fit to the shape of the teeth and the dental arch. The whitening agent used is less concentrated, and requires usage of a few hours per day. The result achieved is more exact and there are those who believe that it lasts longer.
3. Combination method – beginning at the clinic and continuing at home
In cases of severe discoloration, the treatment can be performed over a series of appointments at the clinic, and combined with treatment using trays at home.
Following a root canal, some teeth change color, adopting a darker, usually grey, tone. These teeth can be usually be bleached internally andor externally to their original color, avoiding the need for a crown in some cases.
1. The whitening agent only works on natural tooth tissue and cannot lighten fillings or crowns placed in the mouth.
2. Oral hygiene plays an important role in protecting the teeth. By brushing daily and visiting the dental hygienist regularly, you can keep your teeth white and healthy for a long time.
3. In many cases, whitening via laser has proved to be dangerous and therefore is not recommended.
It is important to remember that the quality of the bleaching agent the dentist uses is very significant!
The highly effective whitening agents used in our clinic meet the strictest safety standards and are approved by the FDA, the CE and the Israeli Ministry of Health, as well as the Office of Standards and Regulations, and have proven to be very effective over time.
Questions and Answers about Tooth Whitening
For whom is tooth whitening suitable?
Tooth whitening is suitable for anyone at any age, as long as the patient’s gums are healthy and the teeth do not contain caries.
Does tooth whitening affect existing crowns and fillings?
The whitening only affects natural tooth tissue. Existing crowns and fillings will remain their original color and may need to be replaced.
Is tooth whitening safe?
Studies conducted during the past twenty years proved that using approved whitening agents is safe and does not cause damage to the teeth or the surrounding tissue. There are definitely many products sold without supervision and their effectivity and safety are questionable.
What level of improvement can be expected from the whitening?
The final color level cannot be exactly predicted, and the level of improvement is dependent on the severity of the discoloration and its cause. In any event, a significant degree of lightening can be witnessed after the process of tooth whitening. When necessary, a few methods may be combined in order to reach the closest result.
Examples of Tooth Whitening
Before After Five years later
Before Whitening After Whitening