Whitening or bleaching treatments are available to satisfy every budget and personal schedule. The long and the short of it is that teeth-whitening works!
According to the ADA the term “bleaching” can be used only when the teeth can be whitened beyond their natural color. This applies strictly to products that contain bleach such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
On the other hand “whitening” refers to a tooth’s color by removing dirt and debris. So any product that cleans (like toothpaste) is a whitener.
There are 2 types of tooth discoloration, Extrinsic stains and Intrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains are those that appear on the surface of the teeth as a result of exposure to dark-colored beverages, food and tobacco and routine wear and tear. Superficial minor stains can be removed by brushing and by a professional cleaning from a licensed hygienist. Major stains can be removed with more involved efforts like teeth bleaching. Persistent stains must be dealt with promptly before they can penetrate into the dentine and become ingrained. Intrinsic stains form on the interior of the teeth. They result from trauma, aging, exposure to minerals and tetracycline during tooth formation and/or excessive ingestion of fluoride. Intrinsic stains can be removed through supervised take-home whitening technology administered for months or even a year or more.
Three (3) whitening options are available. All three rely on varying concentrations of peroxide and varying application schedules. The three options include in-office whitening, professionally designed take-home whitening kits, and over-the-counter whitening kits. Consult with your dentist to ascertain which system suits your specific requirements.