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We all look at pictures of our favorite celebrities and long to have that perfect while smile showing off well-aligned teeth. However, due to various reasons, our teeth do not seem to be like theirs. Some of the reasons for the not-so-white teeth include:
- Food habits like excessive cola, coffee, tea
- Tobacco chewing and smoking
- Fluoride deposits seen in people in which the community water has excessive fluoride content
- Side effect of medications like tetracyclines.
However, with teeth achieving major cosmetic value, a lot of developments have happened and now a set of white pearls need not just be a dream. Whether it is just one tooth which is oddly colored or the entire set has taken on a darker shade, teeth whitening procedure comes to the rescue. It is well within the reach of most people, with options that can be managed both in the office and at the convenience of your homes.
Whatever the technique, the basic chemical is the same, hydrogen peroxide, which is a well-known bleaching agent. This works very well on extrinsic stains and may take repeated visits to the dentist to whiten teeth with intrinsic stains like fluorosis.
Things to remember:
Before going ahead with teeth whitening, the dentist will inform you that:
- Cavities need to be treated before teeth can be whitened
- Receded gums need to be treated before teeth whitening
- Any crown work that is pending should be done before the teeth whitening can be done.
Once all the above mentioned things have been take care of, the next step is to clean the teeth completely. This cleaning will ensure that your teeth are free of bacteria and other deposits. The patient's impressions are then taken to make customized trays.
The dentist will provide you with a kit, which contains the trays and the bleaching material. The material should be applied on to the trays, left in place in the mouth to produce the bleaching effect. This may need to be repeated for about 2 to 3 weeks.
Whitening can be done on vital teeth or on non-vital teeth-
- Vital teeth are usually bleached in the clinic, where the bleaching agent is applied on the tooth. It is then activated by a laser light to produce the active chemical that whitens the teeth. If the staining is excessive, then in-house vital tooth whitening may be followed by a couple of home applications.
- Non-vital teeth: Teeth which are root canal treated turn brown over a period of time. Whitening these root canal treated teeth is known as non-vital tooth whitening.
So, if you are not happy with your set of teeth, there is always a solution – get them whitened and see your smile broaden.