Dental bleaching, also known as tooth whitening, is a common procedure in general dentistry. It is the process of using bleach or other materials to make teeth look whiter. The materials remove stains or other discoloration from the tooth surface. Whitening restores natural tooth color and bleaching whitens beyond the natural color.
Teeth are whitened to remove the effects of coffee, cigarettes, and other substances that permanently stain or discolor teeth. Medications such as antibiotics like tetracycline may discolor teeth. Fluorosis, a condition caused by absorbing too much fluoride, could affect tooth color. Furthermore, aging also causes teeth to lose their bright color.
Whitening may not be recommended for people with gum disease, receding gums, or sensitive teeth. The ADA advises people to consult with a dentist before beginning any teeth whitening treatment. The dentist can review the patient's oral health history and discuss the appropriate treatment. If necessary, the dentist will fill cavities.