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Majority of people consider tooth whitening and tooth cleaning to be the same thing, with the same objective. Although, both the treatments and processes are different, explains Dr. Heman Verma from Dental Stylers.

What is tooth whitening?

By simple definition, tooth whitening is a treatment that is aimed at regaining the lustrous white colour of the teeth. Most people in the world are born with amazing white set of teeth. Over the

years, however, eating, smoking and other elements make teeth lose their natural colour. In some cases, the dis-colouration may be due to other dental reasons. Irrespective of the cause, people look for a solution that can get them the same old white set of teeth. For this purpose, tooth whitening is prescribed.

“Bleachers are used to remove the stains, tartars and any pigmentation that may have been embedded in the minutest pores of the teeth. Sometimes, laser treatments are also used for the same. As a result, tooth whitening gets you white, shiny looking teeth after the treatment,” informs Dr. Heman Verma.

Tooth Cleaning

On the other hand, tooth cleaning doesn’t have any objective of making any cosmetic changes on the teeth. The primary focus of a cleaning programme is to better the dental health of a patient. It involves treating any germs that may be there in your teeth and mouth and removing all the

stains and pigments that may have got into the gums or posterior teeth.

Cleaning treatments are also used as preventive measures to avoid periodontal disease and other dental problems. In short, cleaning treatments are the first stage of treatment for a wide variety of dental ailments.

To bleach or not to bleach

Generally, tooth whitening is successful in at least 90 percent of patients. As a rule of thumb, yellow-coloured teeth respond well to whitening, while brownish-coloured teeth don’t respond as well. Gray stains caused by smoking, taking tetracycline or fluorosis (ingestion of too much fluoride) most likely will not be dramatically changed by tooth whitening.

Likewise, tooth whitening may not enhance your smile if you’ve had bonding or tooth coloured

fillings placed in your front teeth. The whitener will not affect the colour of these materials, and they will not match your newly whitened smile. In these cases, you may want to look for other options, such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding on other teeth.

Things to keep in mind before whitening

1. Not all stains can be lightened by professional bleaching.

2. If you have sensitive teeth, gum disease or teeth with worn enamel, then whitening is discouraged.

3. Whitening may involve the risk of gum irritation or damage the previous dental work.

4. For a quicker and more reliable result, opt for laser whitening.

About the Author: Dr. Heman Verma, Surgeon, Orthodontist, Implantologist, spearheads Dental Stylers, one of the most premium dental centres of Northern India; with comprehensive education in behaviour management, sedation and anaesthesia techniques.

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