Bright white teeth - this is the dream of many people, because after all white teeth stand for health, strength and attractiveness. However, the problem is that very few people keep their teeth bright during their lifetime. There are a variety of causes of unsightly discoloration of the teeth:

  • Over time, for example, tea, coffee, wine or nicotine can cause a dark stain to settle on bright white teeth.
  • Also certain medications as well as trace elements can lead to spots on the teeth.
  • Dead tooth nerves can also cause the affected teeth to darken.
  • And finally, the natural aging process ensures that the individual tooth color turns darker sooner or later.

Although it is within the scope of professional teeth cleaning the ability to clean discolored teeth with powder blasters and polishing pastes; However, these measures only have a very superficial effect and are completely ineffective, for example, in tooth discoloration caused by dead tooth nerves.

Overview of this article

Why bleach your teeth?

Why bleach your teeth?

With the method of bleaching, discoloration in the tooth itself can be eliminated. Whilst professional teeth cleaning serves a medical purpose, bleaching does not. From a medical point of view, bleaching the teeth is therefore not necessary or beneficial to dental health.

However, many people choose to lighten their teeth for psychological reasons, because nowadays it is well known that the attractiveness of a face is significantly influenced by the appearance of the teeth. Bright white teeth stand for health and vitality and are also an expression of youth. Since the tooth color can be brightened up significantly by bleaching, a fresh and friendly facial expression is created, which is attractive to other people.

What happens during bleaching?

Chemically, there are two methods of bleaching:

  • reducing bleach
  • oxidizing bleach

The reduction bleaching works only temporarily. Sulfur compounds are used which extract the oxygen from the tooth discoloration. However, the treated tooth surfaces inevitably come back in contact with oxygen, so that the bleaching effect is only of a relatively short duration.

The oxidation bleaching, however, works over a longer period. In this case, chlorine compounds or hydrogen peroxide are used. These substance release oxygen, which permanently destroys the dyes that have led to the unsightly tooth discoloration in an oxidation process. This lightening lasts about two years for healthy teeth.

Depending on the individual cleaning and consumption habits, the result after bleaching remains between a few months and a few years. If you place value on bright white teeth, teeth whitening must be repeated over and over again.

Two different methods of bleaching

Two different methods of bleaching

There are basically two different options for the method used:

  • Home bleaching
  • In-office bleaching

In home bleaching, the patient receives dental splints from the dentist, which are previously made individually for the patient. These are usually made of plastic. The patient fills these splints at home with a special whitening gel and wears the splint over several days and nights until the desired whitening effect has set in. It is important to monitor exactly how far the whitening of the teeth has already progressed. Basically, this method is considered relatively expensive.

Much more frequently, the so-called in-office bleaching is used. Here, the teeth are whitened directly at the dentist. In this procedure, a gel is applied to the teeth in the dental office, usually in combination with a UV lamp. An advantage of this method is that the complete bleaching operation is performed by qualified personnel. In addition, whitening can be done in a single session, which can take up to two hours.

What about the costs of whitening?

What about the costs of whitening?

The statutory health insurance companies do not bear the costs for whitening teeth, as this is a cosmetic measure. Professional home or in-office bleachings cost about 300 euros, or 30 to 70 euros per tooth.

The limits of whitening

While healthy and solid teeth usually bleach without any problems, bridges, crowns and fillings do not. Under certain circumstances, they form a strong color contrast to the brightened teeth after a bleaching treatment. If a denture in the anterior region is necessary in the foreseeable future, the teeth whitening should be carried out about two weeks before the new dentures, since already made bridges or crowns can not be brightened later - after all, you want to get a uniform result and a uniform tooth color through the teeth whitening.

If individual teeth have discolored strongly, for example after a root canal treatment, these can be a stronger color after bleaching in contrast to the other bleached teeth. In this case, it is advisable to think about a color matching crown.

Risks and side effects of bleaching

  • The whitening of teeth is achieved by chemical substances. Some teeth may be sensitive to these substances. Thus, an increased sensitivity of the teeth or tooth neck and irritation of the gums during or after the whitening of the teeth are possible. Especially people who suffer from sensitive teeth should pay attention to this. However, these side effects quickly disappear when the bleach is discontinued - usually after a day or two.
  • Caries should be handled with great caution, as dental bleaching can damage the tooth nerves of carious teeth, which can lead to great pain. However, a professional dentist will thoroughly check your teeth before bleaching and treat any carious teeth beforehand.
  • When teeth are treated with bleach, demineralization may occur. These are changes in the enamel surface of the teeth. It has not yet been scientifically clarified whether a tooth can recover from this.
  • Bleaching agents can only whiten the natural teeth. Ceramic cladding (so-called veneers), crowns or fillings can not be brightened by this.
  • It is recommended that bleaching agents should not be used more than twice a year.