Cosmetic Dentistry involves many types of dental treatments like:
• Porcelain veneers
• Gum depigmentation
• Tooth straightening
But the most sought after and popular cosmetic dentistry option is ‘teeth whitening’. An estimated $18 billion is spent in the US annually by people who undergo tooth whitening treatment.
What is tooth whitening?
It is a procedure to help remove discoloration and stains from the teeth. It is one of the most popular procedures in cosmetic dentistry because it transforms the way people look as teeth flash brighter and a good set of shining teeth is a beautiful sight. However, over time since teeth tend to get stained and discolored it has to be repeated regularly to maintain the brightness.
The common reasons for tooth staining and yellowing are:
• Tobacco usage
• Consumption of colored liquids like coffee, tea and wine
• Improper care of teeth
• Ageing also thins the enamel making teeth look dull and stained
The process of tooth whitening is effective most on surface (extrinsic) stains rather than intrinsic (inside the enamel) stains.
Types of tooth whitening
Tooth whitening is of two basic types – vital and non-vital. Teeth that have live nerves undergo vital whitening while teeth that no longer have live nerves after a root-canal treatment undergo non-vital whitening. Tooth bleaching is a simple procedure done by a dentist by applying a whitening gel or paste directly to the surface of the tooth. The paste or gel may likely contain hydrogen peroxide, a lightening agent.
The most common type of vital tooth whitening uses a gel-like whitening solution that is applied directly to the tooth surface. This product contains some form of hydrogen peroxide.
Tooth whitening also called dental bleaching is a common procedure in dentistry. Bleaching is the term used to refer to process that goes beyond whitening or natural color. Tooth bleaching involves the use of chemicals like carbamide peroxide. Along with tooth whitening gel, the dentist uses a specialized laser to activate the gel triggering off the bleaching process.
Although tooth bleaching today uses modern equipment and chemicals, it is actually an ancient practice used by Romans and some other civilizations; goat milk and urine were used to keep teeth white.
Difference between whitening and bleaching
Whitening refers to restoration of the tooth’s surface color by removing dirt and stains. Hence, any product like toothpaste or tooth gel that acts like a cleaner is considered a whitening agent. On the other hand, bleaching contains chemicals like carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide and is allowed to be used only if teeth can be whitened beyond their natural brightness or color.
Source by Emily Moorey