Whitening is a process where the tooth discolouration is ‘whitened’ to a lighter shade. It removes the staining agent through chemical means. It is a safe procedure when carried out under professional supervision. Treatment results usually depend on the severity of the discolouration. Both vital (i.e. live) and non-vital teeth (e.g. tooth with root removed) can be bleached and may take several visits to complete. It is not effective on dental restorations such as amalgam fillings, metal or porcelain crowns, etc.
Teeth can discolour for various reasons. The dentist will recommend the most ideal method based on your oral condition after an in-office examination to establish the cause and nature of your tooth discolouration, as well as provide you with more information on the various types of whitening procedures available, duration & frequency of treatment.
There are two types of staining as related to teeth: Extrinsic Staining and Intrinsic Staining
Extrinsic Staining- Extrinsic stains are caused by external factors such as coffee, red wine, tea, other dark-colored foods and drinks, tobacco and routine wear and tear. Essentially they are a natural part of life but they are unsightly and can be removed. Superficial extrinsic stains can be removed with good hygiene techniques such as regular brushing and dental check-ups with cleanings. More stubborn stains can be removed with more involved efforts like teeth bleaching or whitening.
Intrinsic Staining- Intrinsic stains occur much deeper in the tooth than extrinsic stains, forming in the interior of teeth. They can result from trauma, aging, exposure to minerals (like tetracycline), during tooth formation and/or excessive ingestion of fluoride
Causes of tooth staining
- Medicine( tetracycline)
- Excessive Fluoride content
- Genetics and Aging
- Dark coloured drinks ( coffee,tea and red wine)
- Bad oral hygiene