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Bleaching (tooth whitening)
Tooth whitening or bleaching is a method for lightening human teeth for cosmetic or aesthetic purposes.
Here is a list of different treatment options.
Whitening with custom-made dental splints
With this method - after making an impression of the teeth and forming a mold - the dentist, e.g. the dentist's laboratory or an esthetician will draw and cut a custom-fit plastic splint that covers the teeth. In order to whiten the teeth, the splint is filled with gel that contains peroxide. The home whitening gel usually has a peroxide concentration of 10 to 20 percent. Depending on the concentration and individual baseline, the patient wears these tracks between one and eight hours. With so-called "age stains", five to seven treatments are often enough; stubborn stains, e.g. stains caused by tetracycline, often 15 or more treatments are required.
Power Bleaching / In-Office-Bleaching
Lightening by direct application
With this treatment, highly concentrated preparations are used. That's why this treatment is carried out on the patient's chair at the dentist or the dental cosmetician. To prepare, the gum is covered with a rubbery coating, the "rubber dam," or a flowable material (usually composite-based), the "gingival protector". The dentist applies the whitening agent directly to the teeth. Sometimes the effect is intensified by a light irradiation with bleaching lamps. But this is only possible with whitening gels, which are activated chemically by exposure to short-wavelength light (cyan / blue or UV light). After 15-45 minutes, the gel is removed. If the lightening is not sufficient, the process can be repeated. If the teeth are being bleached for the first time, usually one to two treatments are necessary, in order to achieve a lasting (one year and more) result.
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Lightening by deposits in the tooth
If a single, non-vital (dead) tooth needs to whitened, this can be done with an insert in the tooth. The crown of the tooth is opened (it is already opened, due to the previous root canal treatment) and a suitable agent is put into the cavity, which used to be filled by the tooth pulp (the pulpless dentis). The tooth is closed again temporarily, and the whitening agent is left in the tooth for one or more days. After the removal of the whitening agent, the crown is permanently sealed again. It takes a few days until the peroxide has worked through from the interior of the tooth to the enamel. The lightening is therefore delayed. If the tooth has not reached the desired color, the method can be repeated. Therefore many dentists forego hastily re-sealing the crown until the desired color is reached.