Tooth bleaching (whitening) is used to temporarily lighten discolorations caused by staining, aging, or chemical damage to teeth. External bleaching of the tooth can only be used in mild cases of tooth staining; more severe cases may require crowns or veneers to alter the appearance of a tooth.
External bleaching of all the teeth in a single arch can be done either entirely in-office, or at home as part of a doctor-guided custom-tray application. Both teeth whitening techniques are best performed under your dentist's supervision to ensure the safest and most dependable results.
There are a multitude of bleaching agents and systems in use for bleaching, and there are two main categories:
- In-Office Tooth Whitening: The teeth are carefully isolated from the lips and gums, and then a bleaching gel is applied. A special curing light is used in conjunction with the gel to activate the gel and accelerate the whitening process.
- At-Home Tooth Whitening: Custom trays are made of your teeth during an initial visit. Once the trays are complete, you are provided with instructions for applying the bleaching agent at home.