Discoloration of incisors is an important aesthetic problem. Today, people in modern societies relate tooth aesthetics with facial aesthetics and social success. One of the most significant purposes of modern dentistry is providing natural tooth aesthetics for the patient. Bleaching is one of the shortest and simplest ways of providing aesthetics. Bleaching is the process of bleaching discolorations that occur on tooth surface due to physiological or pathological reasons using chemical methods. Bleaching must be applied under the supervision of a doctor.

Reasons of Stains and Discolorations on Teeth

The main reason of discolorations and stains on teeth is the failure to apply tooth care regularly. The opacity that is lost in poorly cared teeth with the plaque accumulation or enamel erosion occurring over time might disrupt the appearance of teeth. Additionally, habits such as excessive consumption of drinks that are dangerous for teeth such as coffee and coke as well as smoking may lead to discolorations and stains. Coloration after root canal therapy is another factor. Some antibiotic types and use of high dose fluorine can also cause discoloration and stains.

When Can Bleaching Be Performed?

Bleaching can be performed in elimination or pathological or age-related coloration of teeth or presence of tooth color disliked by the patient. Firstly, clinical and radiographic examination is performed on the relevant teeth. Necessary treatments (caries, fracture, gingival diseases, etc.) are performed, if any, and bleaching is applied.

When Is Bleaching Procedure Not Suitable?

  • Patients with severe gingival diseases
  • Alcohol and smoking addicts
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Milk teeth
  • Those that are allergic to peroxide
  • Patients with tooth pathologies such as common caries, abrasion, sensitive tooth and shape anomalies

What Are the Bleaching Methods?

Bleaching can be applied by 2 ways. Office-type bleaching is a fast bleaching method that is performed in a clinic, lasts for about 1 hour and results in a 3-4 times lighter tone. Home bleaching is the procedure performed by patient at home in which the bleaching agent prepared by dentist is applied on the teeth using an equipment. In some cases, home bleaching can be applied after office-type bleaching as a combination in order to reinforce the bleaching process.

How is bleaching performed?

There are two main methods used by dentists in bleaching. The first one is the method that consists of a few applications performed in clinic in about an hour. First of all, surfaces of teeth to be bleached are cleaned.  After preparing the mouth for operation and covering the tissues that might be damaged with a special insulation material, bleaching is performed with the help of a beam and special gel spread on the tooth. Procedure is completed following a few applications of bleaching gel.  Second method is the home treatment. In this procedure that takes a longer time, a tray including bleaching gel is seated onto the teeth, and patients is asked to wear it at nights. Treatment is performed by wearing those trays for 7-8 hours a day for 1 and a half weeks. This method can also be used to support the first bleaching method. Apart from these, treatment is performed by applying internal bleaching method in discolorations that occur as a result of root canal therapy or trauma. The most suitable treatment method for you must be determined by your dentist.

How Long Does Bleaching Take?

Office-type bleaching: Bleaching applied by the dentist in clinic is completed in 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the type of bleaching agent used. If the desired result is not achieved, procedure is repeated 1 week later.

Home-type bleaching: After the preparation of plaque by the dentist, gel to be applied by the patient at home is used for the period recommended by the company (2 to 5 weeks) until the desired bleaching is achieved.

What To Consider After Bleaching

The first week following the bleaching is very important. Patients asked to stay away from pigmentary substances. Mouth must be flushed with water after meals, and teeth must be brushed, if possible.  The patient can return back to his/her normal routine after this period. However, personal oral care and habits have an important role in the maintenance of whiteness achieved with the treatment.

Is Bleaching Harmful for Teeth?

Bleaching procedure performed under the supervision of a dentist in suitable concentration and time has no harm for the teeth.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bleaching

Bleaching is a fast, reliable and satisfying procedure in terms of results. It is much more cost-efficient than aesthetic veneers. However, the results may vary for each person. Whitened teeth return back to their previous color over time. There may be sensitivity in teeth after the bleaching procedure and the following few days. Patient may use the painkillers recommended by the doctor, if necessary.