Tooth Bleaching: Methods, Costs, Risks –

Bleaching can be used to whiten discoloured teeth. What you should know about it.

The radiant white after tooth bleaching lasts a maximum of two years.

Discoloration of the teeth can have different causes: In the course of time, nicotine, caffeine or tannin, which is contained in the wine, are deposited in the crystal structure of the tooth enamel. Drugs (e.g. penicillins) and trace elements (e.g. too much fluoride) can also cause stains. Finally, the individual tooth colour becomes darker with age.

A cleaning with polishing pastes or powder jet devices only works very superficially and is almost completely ineffective with tooth discolorations by dead tooth nerves.

Reduction bleaching and Ox > Chemically there are two different methods: In the case of reductive bleaching, which only has a temporary effect, sulphur compounds are used to extract oxygen from the discoloured teeth. Since the tooth surfaces treated in this way inevitably come into contact with oxygen again, the bleaching effect is only short-lived.

In the more durable oxidation bleaching process, hydrogen peroxide or various chlorine compounds are used. They release oxygen, which permanently destroys the dyes through an oxidation process. This whitening also only lasts for a limited period of time, usually around two years, in the case of vital teeth, i.e. teeth that are not dead.

Bleaching – At home or in practice?

The bleaching of discoloured vital teeth is possible either in the dental practice (office bleaching) or at home (home bleaching). In both procedures, the tooth surface must be thoroughly cleaned before the actual bleaching. In addition, the gums must be in a healthy condition. If there are already tooth-coloured fillings in the teeth, they will not be bleached. Renewing these fillings after the actual bleaching treatment is then aesthetically advantageous, at least in the anterior region.

The bleaching agent should never come into contact with the gums, otherwise severe damage can occur. Therefore a control and supervision by the dentist is indispensable. After completion of the treatment, the whitened enamel should be hardened with fluorides.

Bleaching products from the drugstore

Like gels used by dentists, bleaching agents for domestic use usually contain the bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide, but in significantly lower doses. The active ingredient reacts chemically with the dyes of the tooth enamel: it splits the deposited color molecules and dissolves them from the tooth enamel. This causes the pigments to lose their color effect. Duration and frequency of use vary from product to product. Before buying, it is essential to find out (e.g. on the Internet) which products have an effect at all according to product testers, as many did poorly in tests. The costs of bleaching products vary between 15 and 40 Euros.

Bleaching with the dentist

Modern bleaching methods at the dentist usually only need a longer session.

Bleaching in the practiceThe dentist applies a concentrated whitening agent directly to the tooth under protection of the environment and activates it with light or soft laser. The peroxide disintegrates and the resulting active oxygen unfolds its bleaching effect. Since stronger concentrations are used in the dental practice, bleaching can be carried out in one session.

There are also bleaching systems on the market that use a plastic tray loaded with the bleaching agent. This is inserted by the dentist and removed again after about an hour. After two to three repetitions, success is visible.

Bleaching “dead” teeth

Blood components and their decay products usually discolor the tooth greyish after a root canal treatment (e.g. removal of an inflamed tooth nerve) or accidental effects after a few years.

The dentist opens the dead tooth and inserts a cotton swab soaked with hydrogen peroxide solution into the cavity of the upper dental nerve for three to five days to bleach the tooth. After the treatment, the cavity is closed with a tooth-coloured filling.


Risks and side effects of bleaching

New study: Tooth enamel loses hardness

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Source: Antje Kraschinski/BerlinOnline

| Update: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 10:48 am

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