REASON FOR PROCEDURE
In an increasingly appearance-conscious society, tooth whitening is becoming a more popular treatment for patients. In the majority of cases, it is carried out for aesthetic reasons only; however, some patients have unnaturally dark teeth that cause great embarrassment and low self-esteem. As with some orthodontic patients, the dentist is in a position to improve the quality of life of these patients by performing a relatively simple and non-invasive technique.
There are a variety of tooth whitening systems available, including over-the-counter products and whitening toothpastes on sale direct to the patient.
When used correctly, they are all perfectly safe and cause no damage to the teeth. The alternative dental treatment to achieve tooth whitening is to undergo multiple veneer or crown preparations, and all of the long-term maintenance and care of these restorations that this entails.
The procedures to be discussed are:
- Home whitening using trays
- In-house power whitening
HOME WHITENING USING TRAYS
Background information of procedure
This is a simple technique whereby the patient self-determines the use of the product and the end result achieved. It involves the use of specially constructed trays – similar to thin gum shields or orthodontic retainers – that are worn at home by the patient with the whitening paste within them. The trays can be worn as little or as often as the patient decides; obviously, greater usage produces a greater whitening effect, but a noticeable improvement in tooth shade normally takes weeks to develop.
As long as the trays fit accurately around the teeth, the treatment course can be repeated as often as the patient wishes. The whitening paste will have no effect on any restorations already present, such as white fillings or crowns, and so these may require replacement at a later date if the shade difference is noticeable.
Details of procedure
Several home whitening products are available to the dental profession, but all rely on the use of custom-made trays to hold the paste on the surfaces of the teeth for long enough to have an effect. Other than provision of the produ/>