Teeth Whitening

It’s no secret that a mouth full of whiter teeth provides benefits, the most obvious being – a brighter more attractive smile. Stains or overall discoloration tends to dull your smile, so regardless of how widely you smile or heartily you laugh, your expressiveness has missing something. Whiter teeth restore this missing dimension to your self-esteem.

How does teeth change color?

Teeth discolouration and staining comes from two sources: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic staining

Intrinsic staining primarily occurs during the tooth development either before birth or at early childhood, which cannot be removed through mechanical measures such as debridement or a prophylactic stain removal.

Some intrinsic teeth staining examples include:

  • Age yellowing
  • Decay
  • Orthodontic white spot lesion
  • Mild fluorosis
  • Amalgam restoration
  • Tetracycline stain
  • Genetic (amelogenesis imperfecta)
  • Non-vital colouring.

Extrinsic staining

Extrinsic teeth staining comes from enviromental factors including smoking, pigments in beverages and foods, antibiotics, and metals such as iron or copper.

Coloured compounds from these sources are adsorbed into acquired dental pellicle or directly onto the surface of the tooth causing a stain to appear.

Some extrinsic teeth staining examples include:

  • Dental plaque

Although usually virtually invisible on the tooth surface, plaque may become stained.

Prolonged dental plaque accumulation on the tooth surface can lead to enamel demineralisation and formation of white spot lesions which appear as an opaque milk-coloured lesion.

  • Calculus

neglected plaque will eventually calcify, and lead to the formation of a hard deposit on the teeth, especially around the gumline, called calculus.

The color of calculus varies, and may be grey, yellow, black, or brown.

  • Tobacco

The nicotine and tar in tobacco, combined with oxygen, turns yellow and over time will absorb into the pores of enamel and stain the teeth yellow.

  • Betel chewing

The extract gel of betel leaf contain tannin, a chromogenic agent that causes discolouration of the tooth enamel.

  • Mouthwash

Chlorhexidine mouthwash has a natural liking for sulphate and acidic groups commonly found in areas where plaque accumulates such as along the gumline, on the dorsum of the tongue and cavities.

  • Metallic compounds

Exposure to such metallic compounds may be in the form of medication or occupational exposure.

Examples include iron (black stain), iodine (black), copper (green), nickel (green), and cadmium (yellow-brown).

Metals can be penetrated into the tooth causing permanent discolouration or can bind to the pellicle causing surface stain.

Who performs teeth whitening?

Usually an orthodontist or cosmetic dentist, and other dentists that are certified to perform such procedure.

Keep reading: Benefits