Tooth whitening is the most traditional method to improve the appearance of the teeth. It’s a totally innocuous method if it’s done under medical supervision. It consists in the application of a whitening gel in a transparent splint perfectly adapted to the teeth, with the intention of oxidising the pigments accumulated on the enamel surface, without damaging the dental structure. As a result of this oxidation, oxygen is eliminated as water, which can occasionally cause sensitive teeth once the splint is removed. This sensitivity is temporary as the teeth hydrate quickly with saliva.
Why do teeth change colour?
Colour alterations may be caused by several factors: diseases such as tooth decay, bruxism or development alterations, colouring due to tooth aging, sediments on the tooth surface (tobacco, tea, coffee, wine), old fillings, injuries and certain medicines (tetracycline). Prior to the whitening treatment it is very important to have clean tooth surfaces, show proper hygiene, healthy gums and no decay. Relative and absolute contraindications will also be taken into account.
How is tooth whitening done?
It consists in applying a small dose (one drop) of the whitening gel to the bottom part of the transparent splint and place it in the mouth as if it were a mouth protector.
The gel will be active for three hours, however it is advisable to leave all night in order to ensure a smoother result.
Once the splint is removed, it must be washed with water. Teeth should be brushed with warm water to minimise sensitivity.
If sensitivity appears, it is possible to stop using the whitening gel for a night and /or use a fluoride gel (Pierre-Fabre’s Sensigel) instead.
If gums become irritated, the whitening treatment should be stopped for a few days and Dentimel Oral Gel (hyaluronic acid) should be applied on the irritated area until it is back to normal. Gum irritation is likely to happen during treatment.
The change in colour will be visible from the first few days of application and the same procedure must be followed until the patient is satisfied (comparing with the bottom teeth).
The change in colour is permanent. Nevertheless, it is recommended to have some extra syringes with whitening gel in order to retouch for one or two nights should the patient feel the need to do it when new stains appear.
What is cold light tooth whitening?
In case of more intensive colouring, cold light tooth whitening (Quickwhite) is an option, as long as it is done in the dental surgery. The concentration of the whitening agent is higher than the one used with the external whitening technique and it can, therefore, cause more sensibility.
The technique consists in protecting the gums first, followed by the application of the whitening agent, which will be activated by means of the application of a plasma arc halogen light (cold light) for 8 minutes. Generally, the whitening agent has to be applied three times before achieving the final result.
Later, a diamond paste is applied in order to polish the teeth and close the dentin, reducing sensitivity.
Once the whitening treatment is finished, it is advisable to use the splints with the gel at home for a few more days in order to achieve a uniform colour.
In some cases, some people might show increased sensibility to temperature, which appears as dentin hypersensitivity. This hypersensitivity is not permanent; it disappears once the treatment is over.
What is internal tooth whitening??
It consists in lightening a tooth previously treated for root canal which, for different reasons, has lost its original colour and has become darker.
It is a simple and traditional technique, with the best aesthetic results, as the external anatomy of the tooth is preserved.
It doesn’t require many visits to the clinic and the whitening is permanent, although it is possible that stains will appear with time.
The method involves the combination of a chemical agent (administered weekly in the clinic) and an energy source which, in this case, is a plasma arc halogen light, in order to speed up the chemical process.
The chemical products used can filter through the enamel; this way the internal tissue goes through an oxidation process which results in the whitening of the tooth.
The intensity of the whitening will be different for each patient, depending on their teeth and the care they take.
The treatment lasts for approximately one hour, with three short breaks to change the whitening product left on the teeth.
¿Contraindicaciones de blanqueamiento
Front teeth with fillings (relative).
Teeth with decay (absolute)
Mouth with swollen gums (absolute)
Front teeth with a fixed prosthesis (relative).
Young teeth (relative)
During pregnancy (absolute)
Hypersensitive teeth (relative)
Teeth with deep grooves (absolute)