Tooth Whitening

Are you worried about your teeth going yellow? Would you like to restore the lost luster of your teeth?  Teeth can undeniably influence your appearance. Don’t let the color of your teeth affect your beautiful smile.  Seek laser tooth whitening at Apollo Dental for glorious smile and foster your self-confidence.

What causes discoloration of teeth?

The underpinning of tooth discoloration can be either intrinsic or extrinsic or both.

Intrinsic stains

Intrinsic stains are endogenous in nature. These stains are incorporated inside the tooth surface which cannot be removed by regular scaling and polishing. Intrinsic stains are induced during tooth development or after the tooth eruption.

Pre eruptive causes of tooth discoloration are some of the hematological disorders which could cause increased hemolysis and stain the teeth red or brown, developmental defects in enamel and dentin (hard tissue surfaces of teeth) which cause pitting and white patches on tooth surfaces.

Another source of intrinsic stains is dental fluorosis which is due to excessive intake of fluoride during development of tooth. Fluorosis stains can manifest as white opaque areas on teeth to yellow or brownish discoloration. Severe cases can lead to pitting and eroded enamel with dark brownish bands on teeth.

Intake of antibiotics like tetracycline, minocycline by the mother during pregnancy and early childhood precipitate mild yellow brown to dark gray banding on teeth.

Traumatic injuries can also bring about discoloration. Following trauma, internal bleeding can occur in the tooth called pulpal hemorrhage which alters the color of the tooth giving it a greyish appearance.

Leaking restorations, decayed teeth also smirch the surrounding areas giving it a dark appearance. Some restorative materials and endodontic sealers used in root canal treatment generate intrinsic stains.

Darkening of the teeth also occur with aging. As age advances changes in the color and texture of enamel and dentin occur due to tooth wear which darkens the color of the teeth. Some severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies, like vitamin D deficiency results in white opaque patches or pitting of enamel.

Extrinsic stains

Extrinsic stains are present only on the external surface of the teeth which could be removed by proper scaling and polishing.

Poor oral hygiene and improper brushing accumulate plaque and calculus on the teeth which bestows yellow stains on the teeth. Excessive intake of coffee, tea and beverages harbors yellow or brown stains. Prolonged use of chlorhexidine mouth wash also contributes to staining. Inhalation of metals like iron, copper, mercury etc. draws greenish or brownish stains. Some habits like use of tobacco or smoking also generate brownish stains on the teeth.

What are different tooth whitening procedures?

Tooth whitening procedures involve scaling and polishing, in office bleaching, at home bleaching kits, composite and porcelain veneers and whitening tooth pastes. During your initial consultation, dentist will identify the type of stains you have and its underlying cause and will propose the suitable tooth whitening procedure to glaze your smile.

Scaling and polishing

Scaling and polishing is not only an oral prophylactic treatment in gum diseases but also a foremost treatment carried out in any cosmetic procedures.

Scaling is a dental process that involves removing the calculus deposits or stains present on the teeth. Dentist uses handheld instruments or ultrasonic instruments to remove calculus and stains present on the teeth. Some patients feel slight discomfort and sensitivity during scaling. For such patients, dentists often numb the area by administering local anesthesia. Slight bleeding may occur from the gums which subside overtime. Scaling is often followed by polishing in cosmetic procedures.

Polishing is done by using mild abrasives and prophylactic paste. This removes all the extrinsic stains present on the teeth. Polishing makes the surface smooth and lustrous. It also removes any minor irregularities present on the teeth, thus making it gloss and resistant to plaque accumulation.

Scaling and polishing removes all the extrinsic stains present on the teeth and restore the natural color of your teeth. However, intrinsic stains are not removed by scaling and polishing.


Bleaching is the most common procedure to remove the intrinsic stains and make your teeth whiter. Bleaching is safe, conservative and economical. It is the most conservative approach to remove the intrinsic stains unlike composite and porcelain veneers.

Before initiating bleaching, scaling and polishing are to be performed. Accidentally injured teeth which are discolored should be endodontically treated before undergoing bleaching. Gingival barrier is placed to help avoid any damage to the gums due to bleaching agent.

The active chemical agent used in bleaching is hydrogen peroxide. Curing light is used to activate bleaching agent. This chemical agent oxidizes the organic pigmentation present in the teeth and makes them more diffusible, thus lightening the color. Mild sensitivity may occur in some cases after bleaching. Sensitivity gradually recedes after few days.

Which teeth do not fit for bleaching?

Hypersensitive teeth, extensively restored teeth, teeth with defects like marks or cracks, highly discolored teeth are not good cases for bleaching. Severely discolored teeth do not completely restore the natural color by bleaching. Such teeth have to be restored with composite or porcelain veneers.

Laser assisted bleaching is an effective method to improve the shade of your teeth. It is effective due to its speed. This technique gives sufficient energy for activation with minimum side effects.

Home bleaching kits are given to the patients in mild and suitable cases. Patient compliance is mandatory in home bleaching. Customized tray is fabricated for each patient by taking impressions. The time and duration of using the bleaching agents at home is well educated by the dentist during consultation. Various tooth whitening tooth pastes are now available in the market to help you whiten your teeth.