Yellowing of the teeth with age is a normal process. The teeth develop a more intense colour (usually yellowish) and more grey. This natural process of colour change can be intensified through outer influences such as the indulgence in tobacco, the consumption of certain foods (tea and coffee) or the intake of medication. The difference of colour among the teeth is at times very obvious. The teeth can be bleached with chemical substances. For the dentist there are two different methods which are possible:
Bleaching in the practice with bleaching gels and a rubber dam (to prevent saliva from intruding in the treatment process) takes about an hour and one sees the results immediately. The teeth whitening treatment uses a combination of formulated lighting and hydrogen peroxide gel to whiten teeth -typically by six to nine shades- in one visit. The gel is carefully applied to the enamel and then exposed to a gentle, blue light. Over a one-hour period, the gel is applied in three 20-minute applications. Stains disappear without affecting the structure of the teeth. The disadvantage of this method is that it requires a lot of time, energy and, because it needs to be repeated, can become somewhat costly.
It is also possible to correct colour differences which can occur within the same row of teeth or between adjoining teeth. Thus a more natural appearance can be achieved and severely discoloured “eye-catchers” eliminated.
Bleaching at home requires the use of bleaching trays custom made from impressions. The bleaching then takes place at home with a lower dosage of bleaching gel and can be repeated at regular intervals. The bleaching trays can be used over a period of years.
For a while now bleaches have been available on the market which can be painted onto the teeth (lacquer). This method does not require the use of bleaching trays. This is the least expensive version, the results though are not controllable because an irregular application of the lacquer can produce uneven bleaching.