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Tooth Bleaching: Current Concepts of the Procedure in Cosmetic Dentistry
Tooth bleaching is a treatment that has been practiced by the dental profession since the early 1800s but the procedure fell into disrepute several years back due to the very caustic agents that were previously used for the procedure. Such bleaching agents had caused thermal burns, acid burns or significant soft tissue damage to the oral mucosae when they inadvertently came in contact with these tissues. Less caustic agents more recently introduced, in the late 1900s, have revived the interest of the dental profession in the art of tooth bleaching. These agents are now being packaged as bleaching kits, which may be used for in-office bleaching by the dentist or used at home by the patient under the supervision of the dentist.
Case reports are presented in this article of patients treated with bleaching kits in office and at home. Patients who came into the dental clinic requesting for tooth bleaching services were assigned to either have an in office or an at home procedure.
Types of tooth discolouration seen among the patients included extrinsic stains caused by poor oral hygiene and food stains, as well as intrinsic discolouration caused by tetracycline staining, enamel hypoplasis and age related discolouration. In-office tooth bleaching was done for three patients while one patient had at home tooth bleaching. A colour change at least two shades lighter than the presenting tooth colour was recorded in all patients. The patients did not report any adverse effect from the bleaching procedure.
Bleaching kits will certainly go a long way in broadening the spectrum of aesthetric dentistry treatment options for patients in our environment.
NQJHM Vol. 14 (3&4) 2004: pp. 236-239