Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening


Teeth whitening also is known as bleaching, is a non-invasive method of lightening dark or discolored teeth. Teeth whitening marketing has evolved into four categories: professionally applied; dentist prescribed; consumer-purchased or over the counter; and other non-dental options.

Indications for teeth whitening are as follows:

  • Extrinsic stains from foods, cigarette smoking, coffee, or tea
  • Aged teeth
  • Intrinsic stains such as mild tetracycline stains and mild fluorosis

Contraindications for teeth whitening are as follows:

  • Hypoplastic or severely undermined enamel
  • Deep microcracks
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Opaque or white spots
  • Extensive silicate, acrylic or composite restorations

There are two types of bleaching:

  • Vital bleaching
  • Non-vital bleaching

Vital bleaching(chairside)

This technique involves the external application of hydrogen peroxide to the surface of the tooth followed by its activation with a heat source. It is also known as power bleaching. Local anesthesia is contraindicated as they hinder patients' communication about the procedural discomfort. This technique is ideal for patients who need quick results or for those who have stubborn unresolved stains.

Indications of vital bleaching are as follows:

  • Very mild tetracycline staining without obvious banding
  • Mild fluorosis
  • Yellowing due to aging
  • Single teeth with sclerosed pulp chambers and canals

Vital bleaching(night guard)

This technique involves the daily placement of carbamide peroxide gel into a custom fitted tray of either the upper arch or the lower arch.


Indications of night guard are as follows:

  • Mild fluorosis
  • Moderate fluorosis as adjunct to hydrochloric acid
  • Yellowing due to aging

Side effects of home bleaching or night guards are as follows:

  • Thermal sensitivity
  • Gingival irritation

Non-Vital bleaching

This technique describes bleaching of teeth that have become discolored due to diffusion of hemoglobin breakdown products from the necrotic pulp into the dentinal tubules. Various techniques of non-vital bleaching are as follows:

  • Thermocatalytic bleaching: This involves placement of oxidizing chemical into the pulp chamber followed by heat application either by electric heating devices or specially designed lamps.
  • Walking bleaching: This involves placement of walking bleaching paste into the pulp chamber. It has to be evaluated after 2 weeks.
  • Inside outside bleaching

Indications of non-vital bleaching are as follows:

  • Discoloured non-vital teeth
  • No clinical or radiological evidence of periapical disease

Contraindications of non-vital bleaching are as follows:

  • Heavily restored tooth
  • Staining due to amalgam


Laser bleaching

Lasers are also used within the clinical setting for dental bleaching. The laser generates the heat that increases the resorption rate of hydrogen peroxide. This technique is time-consuming. It provides quick results and is expensive.

Over the counter bleaching

These are available directly to the consumers. Contains citric acid or phosphoric acid, gel-acidic ph, post bleach polishing cream- paste that contains titanium dioxide.

White strips

These are thin flexible polyethylene strips which contain hydrogen peroxide in gel form. These strips have to be used for 30 minutes twice daily for two weeks.

A discolored tooth is always a point of discomfort for the patient, bleaching might be a very easy solution.



View More

Office Location

  • Palo Alto
  • 850 Middlefield Rd. Suite 8
  • Palo Alto, California
  • 94301
  • Map & Directions
  • Call: (650) 321-0340