Teeth Whitening

Professional dental whitening is a treatment that can only be carried out by oral health professionals. This restriction is justified by the risks related to the nature of the whitening products used.

This dental treatment involves a prior clinical examination, the application of preventive operative measures when applying or using the whitening products for each person, to avoid oral complications so as to make the result more effective.

The guidelines and applications given by the professional avoid excessive time or unnecessary exposure to the whitening products as a treatment. This ensures that there are no risk factors or other oral diseases that would make this treatment inadvisable.

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What does it mean to whiten teeth?

Tooth whitening is an aesthetic dental treatment that aims to remove stains from the teeth and make the teeth whiter and brighter. The current popularity of cosmetic dentistry has made this one of the most popular dental procedures in recent years.

It is especially important that professionals are trained in the use of whitening agents, following an appropriate protocol for diagnosis, planning the procedure and maintaining the results.

Therefore, it is vital that the professional has a thorough knowledge of both the indications and contraindications of dental whitening techniques in order to be able to pass them on.

On the other hand, the population should conceive of this treatment as a health procedure that should always be carried out under the supervision of a professional in the field.

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Causes of tooth darkening

Inadequate oral hygiene and the consumption of certain products can cause changes in dental colouring. There are different types of dental stains that can be classified as intrinsic or endogenous stains and extrinsic or exogenous stains.

Intrinsic or endogenous stains include those that affect teeth during their formation phase, before they erupt in the oral cavity, caused by the consumption of certain medications (such as tetracyclines), alterations in the development of the dental structure (enamel hypoplasia), vitamin deficiencies or fluorosis.

Also classified in this group are the stains that appear after dental eruption, produced by trauma, fractures or natural darkening of the tooth, which is normal over the years.

Extrinsic or exogenous stains are produced by the contact of teeth with pigmenting agents, present in certain foods, drinks such as wine, tea and coffee, and other products such as tobacco. These stains can also occur after prolonged use of certain oral washing products and chlorhexidine-based toothpastes.

Types of dental whitening

The classification of teeth whitening depends on the tooth to which the procedure is applied.

Dental Whitening of vital teeth

This type of whitening can be of two different types:

Teeth whitening performed in the dental office.

It is done by the professional, with the person in the chair, who will apply a whitening agent based on 35% hydrogen peroxide, which can be activated by a light source.

It is necessary to carry out adequate prophylaxis beforehand and check that the oral cavity is healthy. After this step, the area to be treated is isolated in order to avoid contact between the whitening agent and the periodontal tissues, tissues that support the tooth, such as the gums, and then the whitening agent is added.

It is essential to follow the whitening system manufacturer’s instructions for satisfactory results.

This is a very effective method, as a high concentration of the whitening component is handled under the control of the professional.

At home teeth whitening, under the supervision of a professional.

In this type of whitening, the concentration of carbamide peroxide is 10%.

This method is performed at home, under the professional’s instructions. As with previous whitening, it is necessary to perform oral prophylaxis and a check-up prior to the treatment.

Two custom-made trays are made up in which the whitening agent will be applied. As they are adapted to the teeth of each individual, the pieces will fit perfectly in the mouth. In this way, any possible contact with the periodontal tissues is avoided.

Dental whitening of non-vital teeth

The reason for the discolouration of non-vital teeth is generally due to the presence of necrotic pulp tissue remains or to the sealing materials used inside the cavities.

This type of whitening is performed with the person in the chair, by the professional, and consists of removing all the necrotic tissue in the pulp chamber of teeth with devitalised endodontic treatment and the direct application of the whitening agent in that chamber.

There are two methods for whitening non-vital teeth:

Immediate technique: This consists of activating the mixture of sodium perborate and 35% hydrogen peroxide using an hot instrument. The result obtained can be seen instantly.

Ambulatory technique: The mixture made of sodium perborate and 35% hydrogen peroxide is applied, taken into the cavity in the form of a paste and a temporary filling is placed on the surface. This is a longer process.

A combination of both techniques can also be carried out.

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Risks of Dental Whitening

Apart from knowing what teeth whitening is, we should know that this treatment is not without risks. Teeth whitening is a treatment that, despite generally obtaining satisfactory results, carries a number of risks.

The professional has an obligation to inform you of them so that they can be considered before the teeth whitening procedure.

Among the possible risks of tooth whitening are cervical resorption, gingival sensitivity and post-operative tooth sensitivity.

To potentially reduce adverse effects, it is necessary to comply with the necessary biological safety measures, using the appropriate concentrations according to each technique and following the appropriate exposure times.

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