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Since the late 1800’s, dentists have been whitening teeth by using various forms of hydrogen peroxide. The peroxides used in the past were watery and could only be used in an office setting.

Some years ago, a new form of peroxide was developed called Carbamide peroxide. It is most often used in the form of a gel, placed into a special tray that is custom–fitted to your teeth, and worn in the mouth for anywhere from one to four hours a day. When in contact with the teeth, the carbamide peroxide releases oxygen, and that is what releases the stain on your teeth. This safe and gentle process has proven to be very effective.

Teeth tend to change shades, usually yellow, with age. This and other stains can be eliminated with the whitening processes. Whitening may not change the color of existing fillings, so whitening combined with tooth bonding is a popular choice. When the whitening is completed, new tooth–colored fillings are placed to match the whitened teeth.

Before-After Before–After
Power Whitening
At home, bleaching methods do work, but more slowly so you need a little patience. Some people start to see results in just a few days, but normal treatment time is anywhere from three to six weeks. Darker stains may require a longer treatment time. Each person is different and results will vary according to stain type, how deep the stains are imbedded into the tooth, and your particular tooth structure.

Carbamide peroxide of 10% to 22% is used in a custom–fitted tray. The tray is worn twice a day for one hour or once a day for two to three hours, depending on the particular system being used. This system is more cost–effective than the following techniques because the bleaching is not done in the dental office.

Custom–made, mouth–formed and ready–made trays are professionally designed by your dentist from a cast model of your teeth. Because they are designed to cover all back teeth and cushion the entire jaw, they can prevent concussions caused by blows to the chin. Custom guards may be slightly more expensive than commercially produced mouthpieces, but they offer the best possible fit and protection. They are more secure in the mouth and do not interfere with speech or breathing.

Ready–made, commercial mouth guards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores and are made of rubber or polyvinyl. They are the least expensive but also the least effective. Keep your mouth guard in top shape by rinsing it with water or mouthwash after each use and allowing it to air–dry. With proper care, it should last the length of a season or longer.

Porcelain crown on a molar Porcelain crown on a molar
Power whitening is often used in conjunction with take–home whitening procedures. For a power–whitening treatment, your dentist first protects your gums, and then applies a concentrated whitening agent.

Finally, the whitening agent is activated by directing a high–intensity light or laser on your teeth. The entire process takes only one or two hours.

The estimated cost of the procedure is anything between INR 2500 – INR 5000. Power bleaching is the oldest form of whitening that is used today. This method uses the highest concentration of peroxide, about 30% to 50%, and is used to treat severe discolorations or for those who want immediate results. The dentist carefully applies the peroxide to your teeth, and a heat or a light source is used to activate and accelerate the whitening process.

Porcelain bridge Porcelain bridge
These treatments take about thirty five minutes to complete and depending on the stains, additional visits or an at home maintenance method may be required.

However, if your teeth have lost their original color due to an injury to the teeth in childhood or maybe even recently then it is suggested that you take professional advice for the same as you may require to undergo a Root Canal Treatment (RCT) prior to the bleaching procedure. After the R.C.T. is over it may either be necessary to crown the tooth or go in for a more conservative method which will mask the discolored portion of the tooth using ceramic veneers. Ceramic crowns are the most aesthetic option especially if it is a front tooth that is weak and discolored.

Porcelain veneers

Before After
Before After
Porcelain veneers are custom–crafted, fingernail–thin porcelain shells that are bonded to natural teeth. Because of their subtle color and near transparency, porcelain veneers can make a dramatic and very natural–looking smile.