What’s your tooth colour? Want more Whiter teeth?
Identify your tooth colour!
Tooth colour/shade differs from one individual to another. The natural tooth colour is dependent on intrinsic factors like genetics or any developmental disturbances and its hue may vary from slight yellowish to white colour. Milk teeth are whiter as compared to the permanent ones, naturally. This natural colour is altered by several extrinsic factors like personal habits; cigarette smoking, coffee or tea stains or other food products. Such discolorations can be easily be treated with tooth whitening agents.
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Want more Whiter teeth?
The answer would obviously be a BIG YES! Right? Tooth whitening is medically also known as Tooth Bleaching. Tooth whitening is any process that lightens the colour of the tooth. The causes of discoloration are varied and complex. Bleaching is the chemical degradation of the chromogens. There are two types of bleaching – Home bleaching and In-office (dental professional) bleaching.
Agents used for Bleaching
In-office (dental professional) bleaching – Hydrogen peroxide and Carbamide peroxide – requires experts.
Home bleaching – Whitening toothpastes, Whitening gels and Over-the-counter whitening strips -
In-office (dental professional) bleaching – procedure is repeated once after 6 months generally depending upon the cause of discolouration.
Home bleaching – for gels – to be used 20–30 min, twice a day for 14 days. The brushes are discarded as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Precautions/care to be taken
Avoid acidic drinks, fruits, tea, coffee, and smoking for 48 hours postbleach.
Tooth sensitivity while bleaching is the most commonly reported adverse reaction. Potassium nitrate desensitizing toothpaste can be recommended.
Patients are recommended to use a whitening toothpaste and dental floss with a powered toothbrush. Food, beverages, and habits that stain the teeth should be evaded. Women are advised to wear a brighter shade of lipstick to make the teeth appear whiter. A touch up is a must to restore the shade. Depending on the relapse, the touch up is recommended in 6 months or after a year or 2.
A careful monitoring and supervision is critical for achieving a successful and safe tooth whitening outcome. Home bleaching is a safer, cost-effective option for whitening teeth. In-office bleach is a viable, aesthetic treatment option for an immediate effect on discoloured teeth.
Dr. Asawari Shidhore
MDS (Public Health Dentistry),
Lecturer, Sinhgad Dental college and hospital, Pune, Maharashtra.