What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening, also known as tooth whitening, is a treatment for discolored teeth. The procedure involves the use of bleaching agents to break down pigmented compounds in the teeth to whiten them.
The main ingredients of tooth bleaching agents are hydrogen peroxide (commonly known as hydrogen peroxide) or carbamide peroxide. Carbamide peroxide reacts chemically with water to form hydrogen peroxide. A product containing 10% carbamide peroxide would yield approximately 3.5% hydrogen peroxide.
How teeth whitening works?
Dentists will use different bleaching methods according to the patient’s oral condition. Generally, the dentist will first imprint the patient’s teeth and create a set of dental molds. Then according to these dental models, a special whitening tray is made. The patient should fill the tray with bleach and wear it over the teeth overnight. Patients should also wear a dental tray every night as instructed by their dentist, and should have regular follow-up visits.
For bleaching procedures in a dental office, the dentist may use a heat or light source as an aid to facilitate or speed up the chemical process of bleaching. The course of treatment generally takes three to six months.
Potential risks and complications
- Improper use of bleach can damage gum and periodontal tissue.
- Bleaching procedures can lead to complications, such as bleaching of undetected cavities and damaged fillings, resulting in hypersensitivity and pulpal pain. People with pre-existing teeth are at higher risk for these complications.
- Hydrogen peroxide can cause irritation of the mucous membranes and, if swallowed, can also irritate the gastrointestinal tract. At concentrations of 10% or more, the chemical may corrode mucous membranes or skin, causing a burning sensation and tissue damage.