Getting to Know About – Bleaching!!

By Dr. Aman Popli in Dental Care

Jan 07 , 2016 | 5 min read


Tooth bleaching is the most common procedure in cosmetic dentistry. Bleaching of teeth is one of the most conservative and cost-effective dental treatments for discoloured teeth than aggressive methods like veneering, crowning or bonding to enhance an individual smile.

It is ideal for people who have healthy and unrestored teeth and gums. Tooth whitening cannot make a complete colour change but it may lighten the existing shade and is not permanent.

Currently, bleaching agents which are used are based primarily on either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The peroxide oxidizing agent penetrates the porosities in the rod-like crystal structure of enamel and breaks down the stain.

Yellowish teeth respond well to bleaching compared to brownish-coloured teeth. Gray/purple or tetracycline stains are more difficult to lighten and may require prolonged bleaching. The effect is less likely to last as long if you smoke, eat or drink products that stain your teeth.

Teeth can turn yellow or become discoloured for a number of different reasons. Though age is a significant reason - smoking, certain foods, coffee, tea, antibiotics, etc, can also cause teeth to turn yellow. However, bleaching is a great way to turn stained and yellow teeth into sparkling white gnashers again. Read on to know more about bleaching.

Teeth Bleaching: Keeping Teeth White

Teeth bleaching is a part of cosmetic surgery and a process wherein the dentist will brighten the colour of your teeth by removing traces of discolouration. There are two ways to undergo tooth bleaching - home bleaching and in-clinic bleaching (In-office bleaching).

  1. In-clinic Bleaching

    A doctor performs in-office bleaching in a clinic with the aid of medical infrastructure.

  2. Home bleaching

    Home bleaching can be done at home using trays made by the doctor or other methods.

Teeth Whitening Treatment

In general, both techniques have been shown to be effective, although, the results may vary depending on such factors as the type of stains, age of the patient, the concentration of bleaching agent, treatment time and frequency.

In-office bleaching contains from 15% to 43% peroxide and at-home bleaching contains from 3% to 20% peroxide.

In-Office Tooth Whitening

Teeth whitening is done by a dental professional. The bleaching agent is much stronger than home bleaching. Light, heat or a combination of two may be used to intensify the whitening process. Bleaching can be done in approx 30 min to 1 hr in a single visit.

Example – Zoom bleaching [most widely used bleaching process which uses the zoom advanced power chairside lamp to accelerate the bleaching process].

At-Home Teeth Bleaching Options

These are available over the counter or supplied by a dental professional. Teeth whitening can be done by whitening toothpaste [mildly abrasive and does not alter the intrinsic colour of teeth], rinses, strips and gels, and tray-based tooth bleaching [tray is filled with bleaching gel and placed over the teeth]. They are less expensive.

With suitable techniques and products, teeth bleaching can be easily done at home. Some bleaching options include:

Whitening strips and gels

you can apply a whitening gel to your teeth with a brush. A whitening strip is a very thin strip that comprises peroxide-based whitening gel. Before applying any of these products, read the descriptions and directions carefully. It will help you understand how to use them.

Tray-based tooth bleaching system

Tray-based tooth bleaching system is a kind of mouth guard that comprises a gel whitening solution. Wearing the mouthguard for a few hours during the day and night will provide you with sparkling white teeth. Your dentist will suggest the duration for which the tray-based tooth whitening system should be used.

Tooth whitening toothpaste

Stains on the teeth can occur due to drinking tea or coffee. A tooth whitening toothpaste is very effective in removing these stains.

How Do Teeth Get Discoloured?

Teeth get discoloured due to unhealthy habits, poor dental hygiene, medications, and other factors. Tooth discolouration can be classified into extrinsic discolouration and intrinsic discolouration.

Extrinsic discolouration occurs when stains affect the tooth’s surface or enamel. Extrinsic discolouration occurs due to:

  1. Certains foods

  2. Smoking and tobacco products

  3. Drinks like coffee and tea

Intrinsic discolouration is when the stain is inside the tooth. Reasons for intrinsic discolouration include:

  1. Genetics

  2. Trauma

  3. Tooth decay

  4. Fluorosis

  5. Certain kinds of medications

Besides intrinsic and extrinsic discolouration, teeth can also become yellow due to advancing age.

How Long Does It Take To Whiten Teeth?

Turning your teeth from yellow to white will take around three or four weeks.

Side Effects Of Teeth Whitening

Most people do not have any side effects of teeth whitening. However, some people may encounter some side effects like:


This is a common issue and usually occurs in patients with weak enamel. Sometimes improper application of the whitening can also lead to sensitivity. To avoid this issue, get teeth whitening done at a clinic by an experienced doctor.

Gum irritation

When whitening teeth, the gum needs to be isolated. If this is not done, it will lead to irritation.

Contra Indication

  1. Allergy to peroxide
  2. Pregnant or lactating women
  3. Sensitive teeth
  4. Gingival Recession {receding gums}
  5. Children under the age of 16
  6. Caries and defective dental filling. Tooth-coloured fillings, crowns, and veneers do get whitened.

Tooth bleaching is best performed under dental professional supervision and following a pretreatment dental examination and diagnosis. Several companies have started advertising their bleaching products directly to patients with no dentist involvement.

The most appropriate bleaching treatment options may be selected according to the patient’s lifestyle, financial consideration and oral health. Success will vary when tooth discolouration is related to developmental aspects, extrinsic [smoking, diet] or intrinsic stains [tetracycline], age-related tooth changes or colour changes secondary to teeth trauma.


Teeth whitening is the best way to eliminate yellow and discoloured teeth. However, you need to be aware that teeth bleaching is most effective for people with yellow teeth. If your teeth have become brown, bleaching will not do much good. Overall, tooth bleaching is effective and safe for most people. If you have yellow teeth and are looking for teeth bleaching options, contact a doctor at a Max Healthcare hospital.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is bleaching good for teeth?

Bleaching is an effective option; however, some people may experience side effects.

2. How long does bleaching last on teeth?

It depends from person to person. Usually, bleaching lasts between a few months to a few years.

3. How much does tooth bleach cost?

The cost of teeth bleaching may vary from one hospital to another. To get detailed information, contact the customer care department at Max Healthcare.

4. Does bleaching damage your teeth?

Though bleaching is relatively safe, there are some side effects associated with it.

5. What is the safest way to whiten teeth?

Whitening strips, gels and tray-based tooth bleaching systems are safe ways to bleach teeth.

6. Can yellow teeth become white?

Bleaching can make yellow teeth white.

7. What are the pros and cons of teeth whitening?

Pros of Teeth Whitening

  1. Improve your confidence

  2. Enhance appearance

  3. If performed by a doctor, the results will be instant

Cons of Teeth Whitening

  1. Tooth Sensitivity

  2. Tooth whitening is not permanent

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