The history of tooth whitening goes back to the ancient time in different cultures. Basically, any procedure that makes the colour of teeth whiter is called tooth whitening or bleaching. Bleaching is categorized as external bleaching or internal bleaching. External means outside of tooth and internal means bleaching of the inside. External bleaching is for vital teeth where we do not have access to the pulp chamber (please see anatomy of the tooth here) so basically for teeth that do not have root canal treatment. External bleaching is the more common bleaching process.
Internal bleaching is for teeth that are discoloured and have had root canal treatment where there is now access to the internal part of the tooth. Internal bleaching in this case, can be done through the pulp chamber. This form of bleaching works better and deeper.
Another categorization is if the bleaching is done at the office or at home.
In office bleaching is done while the patient is sitting in the dental chair.The dentist will isolate the teeth so the bleaching agent does not touch the lip or gum and in 1-2 hours, the teeth are bleached through our in house bleaching process.
If one chooses to go with the Take home kit, a patient will come to the office for an impression, a mold, of his or her teeth. The laboratory will then fabricate thin upper and lower custom trays that are made out of plastic and fit nicely over the teeth. The Dentist will deliver the bleaching trays to the patient as well as demonstrate how to dispense the bleaching agent onto the trays so that the patient can independently bleach their teeth at home based on instruction. The take home kit provided will gradually whiten your teeth depending on your desired shade.
The two main material for bleaching are Carbamide peroxide and Hydrogen peroxide. They release oxygen into the tooth and remove micro stains and whiten the tooth
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