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What is teeth bleaching?

The lightening of the color of a tooth through the application of a chemical agent to oxidize the organic pigmentation in the tooth is referred to as bleaching.

Causes for tooth discoloration

1. Smoking cigarettes and marijuana

2. Chewing tobacco

3. Drinking coffee and tea in excess

4. Flourosis

5. Aging

6. Genetic conditions

7. Medical conditions like jaundice and porphyria

8. Medications like tetracycline during tooth development

9. Restorative dental materials

Bleaching techniques.

There are two ways in which tooth lightening procedure cab be carried out. There are: at home bleaching technique and in office bleaching technique

At home bleaching technique.

This is a more commonly used technique since it is easy to perform and is less expensive for the patient.

It uses a custom-fit tray with 10% carbamide peroxide.

This technique requires the following things:

1. Dental and medical history

2. Clinical examination

3. Radiographs of the teeth to be treated

4. Impression of the dental arches for the construction of bleaching tray

5. Recall visits to assess progress and compliance

Tray fabrication: this involves the fabrication of a vacuum pressed tray over the dental casts.

Instructions to the patient:

1. The patient is to brush his/her teeth prior to the application of the tray

2. The patient then has to place enough bleaching agent into the tray to cover the facial surfaces of the teeth. After seating the tray, excess bleaching material extruding on to the gingival surfaces should be carefully wiped away.

3. The tray should be worn for a time period of 4 hours for every session.

4. While removing the tray, it should be removed from the second molar region in a peeling action. This avoids injury to the soft tissues.

5. After every bleaching session, rinse off the bleaching agent from the surfaces of the teeth. The tray should be gently brushed to remove the bleaching agent and stored in cool or room temperature until the next use.

6. Results can be sees as early as 2-14 days or may take as long as 6-12 months.

In office bleaching technique

This procedure is done in the dental office by the dentist.

This technique uses 35% hydrogen peroxide solution that is directly placed on the teeth. This bleaching agent is available in the form of a gel to prevent running of the material on application.

This may involve the application of heat and/or light to activate the bleaching agent.


1. The enamel surface is cleaned thoroughly with pumice and water.

2. 35% hydrogen peroxide is applied on the cleaned surface using small cotton pellets.

3. Apply heat with a heating device or a light source. The temperature should be maintained between 52-60 degrees.

4. The treatment time is around 30 minutes

5. Pumice is used on the teeth to remove the residual exposed gel from the enamel surface.

6. If the tooth is not bleached up to the decided shade or has not given any satisfactory results in one session then the patient might be advised to come for another session.

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