Teeth Whitening

What is Bleaching? (Teeth whitening)

Every person has a specific color of their teeth just as they have skin or eye color. The color of teeth differs according to race, age, and geographical location. For example, people with African ethnicity have the whitest teeth whereas Caucasians have yellower tone of teeth. Teeth may change to a darker color due to different reasons as well; used medications, the abundance of fluoride in drinking water, etc. The bleaching or Whitening procedure is the removal procedure of discolorization. It may be applied to a single tooth or completely. In the bleaching method, the natural tooth color is whitened a shade or two.

The whitening procedure must definitely be supervised by a dentist. It is not recommended to use the cheap products purchased from supermarkets. For the procedure, your dentist will examine your teeth. If there is inflammation in your gums and tartar on your teeth, these need to be treated first. To qualify for tooth whitening, your dentist has to see no fractures or abrasions on your tooth enamel during the exam. These conditions may cause you to experience extreme sensitivity following the whitening procedure. Bleaching is different from the removal of stains on teeth at the end of gum treatment. Stains stuck on teeth from tea, cigarettes, etc are removed with polyture procedure whereas, in Bleaching, about a couple of shades of whitening is gained following the polyture procedure.

Understanding Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that involves removing stains and discolouration from the teeth to improve their appearance. It is a popular treatment for people who want to enhance their smile and boost their self-confidence.

Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Many factors can cause tooth discoloration, including:

•            Diet: Consuming dark-colored foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, red wine, and cola can stain the teeth over time.

•            Tobacco use: Smoking or using other tobacco products can cause yellow or brown stains on the teeth.

•            Age: As people age, the enamel on their teeth naturally wears down, revealing the yellowish dentin underneath.

•            Medications: Certain medications, such as tetracycline, can cause tooth discoloration when taken during childhood.

•            Genetics: Some people are born with naturally darker or yellower teeth.

Bleaching (Teeth Whitening) Methods

Two methods are used in today's dentistry. Named Home-Bleaching (applied at home) and Office-Bleaching (applied at the clinic), these methods can also be applied together (combined system) in cases of resilient stains. (tetracycline stains)


In this method, patients apply the treatment themselves. The treatment period lasts about 7 to 14 days. It has to be applied over the course of 6 to 8 hours every day. Thanks to the change of concentration in the chemicals used in recent years, it has become possible to achieve results with even 2 to 3-hour applications. The patient’s oral impression is taken and a whitening tray is prepared accordingly. The patient fills the tray with whitening gel and wears them (preferably) before going to bed. The concentration of the whitening agent used in home bleaching is kept lower to prevent harm to the teeth and gingiva.


In this method, the dental professional applies the treatment in the clinic. If there is a gingival disease or tartar and plaque formation in the mouth, they must be treated previously so that the teeth can be prepared for the procedure. Gingival protectors are applied to your gingiva. The whitening agent is applied on each tooth and the light source is applied for 15 minutes. This procedure is repeated two or three times. The procedure takes about an hour. The gel is activated with high-power light, heat, or laser. The treatments' effectiveness is directly proportional to light and heat. This method can be used on smoking patients, however, refraining from smoking and any other type of staining matter is highly recommended at least for the next 48 hours.

Combined System

In this method, the patient receives home bleaching, followed by office bleaching to complete the treatment. This method is used to achieve results where the teeth' color is dark and resilient.

Can You Get Teeth Whitening after Root Canal Treatment?

After root canal treatment, teeth can sometimes change color. The most prominent cause of this color change is due to the blood clotting in dentin tubules or canal filling material causing color change on teeth. The crown whitening (intracoronal bleaching) method involves whitening the substances inside the dentin tubules and makes it possible for the tooth to go back to its natural color. Because the root of the tooth is protected before the bleaching treatment begins, this will cause no harm for the previous root canal therapy.

Is Bleaching Harmful for the Teeth?

The substances used in bleaching are different types of peroxide. Components such as sodium peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, and carbamide peroxide are the most frequently used types of peroxide and it is clinically proven that these chemicals are not harmful to the structure of your teeth.

The difference between Home-Bleaching methods from Office-Bleaching is the lower concentration of whitening agents in the whitening products. Home-bleaching whitening agents include gels that have varying degrees of carbamide peroxide (10-22%), which are almost as effective as gels with a 3% hydrogen peroxide concentration. However, teeth whitening products which are applied in the clinic by a dental professional have a concentration value between 25% to 35%.

In the home-bleaching method, whitening trays prepared exclusively for the patient are used. Patients fill the whitening tray with the gel and do the application themselves.

The dentist must talk to the patient about their history. It is necessary to determine the cause of discolorization or staining on the teeth. According to the examination, the decision whether the patient's teeth are appropriate for whitening should be made and, if applicable, a proper whitening method and agent has to be chosen accordingly.

The whitening procedure without harming the tooth and the gingiva can only be done under the dentist's supervision. Therefore, tooth whitening procedures must be done under the dentist's supervision.

Is There Any Pain During The Teeth Whitening Procedure?

No kind of anesthesia (needle) is applied during the tooth whitening procedure. In this procedure applied to the tooth enamel, since the enamel tissue doesn’t have a nerve system, the patient feels no pain. The whitening agent is applied to the enamel during the procedure. In the office bleaching method, the patient’s mouth stays open for about 45 minutes. This may get some patients tired. In such cases, the patient may be allowed to take a little resting break halfway through the procedure. Following the procedure, sometimes the chilly feeling called temporary sensitivity may occur. This condition ends after 2-3 days at the latest. If this condition lingers on, the patient can receive fluoride application to remove the sensitivity. It is important to keep in mind to refrain from consuming tooth-coloring food and beverages such as wine, tea, coffee, cigarettes, coke, etc.


Who is Suitable for Teeth Whitening?

The whitening procedure is not recommended for ages under 16. In this period of age, the Pulp chamber and the nerve of the teeth are at their widest dimensions. For pregnant women, people with whitening agent peroxide allergy, and extremely sensitive teeth, it is not appropriate to undergo the procedure.

The procedure isn’t done on patients with tooth fractures, abrasion, and sensitivities. Patients with excessive gingival recession and exposed roots are also not candidates for teeth whitening. In very advanced stages of tetracycline staining, the results also won’t be able to be satisfactory.

Smoking patients should be warned about cutting down or quitting their habit altogether to achieve better results with the treatment.

Whitening agents purchased from pharmacies may lead to unwanted results if the structure of the patient’s tooth and gingiva is not suitable. Patients must consult their dentists for dental bleaching procedures.

Does the Whitening Procedure Work on Every Kind of Discolorization?

The food and beverages we consume have the utmost importance as factors in the discolorization of our teeth. Beverages with dyes, coke, cherry juice, red wine, carrot juice, and pomegranate juice are influential in discolorization. In addition, tea and smoking, especially coffee with smoking has an increasing effect on the discoloration of teeth. Some of the medications patients use may also cause discoloration of teeth. Especially the medication and antibiotics used in childhood during the tooth eruption period have an important influence.

Yellow staining on teeth is more successfully handled in the whitening procedure than gray staining. Gray staining may be inborn or following root canal treatment. The discolorization after root canal treatment is explained in the section above. When there is gray discolorization on every tooth, the whitening procedure is more difficult. In the cases of yellow and similar tones of discolorization, the whitening procedure is easier.

How Long Does the Whitening Last After The Tooth Whitening Procedure?

Following the procedure, we recommend our patients a “white diet” for a while. We advise against consuming foods and beverages which can cause discolorization. After the duration of the white diet is over, we also advise against especially consuming darkly colored food which have excessive amounts of food dyes in it.

Following the tooth whitening procedure, especially fruit juices, tea, coffee and similar beverages discolor the teeth much more. It is important to keep in mind to consume them responsibly and brush your teeth afterward. Regular brushing is required for maintaining your oral and dental health as well as making your teeth appear whiter.

How long will the teeth stay white following a bleaching procedure is a common issue of concern. While the severity of the discoloration on the patient's teeth, the technique and material used for bleaching, the shade of whitening that takes place after the procedure, and dietary and brushing habits play a role in the duration of the whitening.

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