Tooth bleaching, also known as tooth whitening, is a common procedure in general dentistry but most especially in the field of cosmetic dentistry. As a person ages the adult teeth often increase in value, that is to say they become darker. This darkening is due to changes in the mineral structure of the tooth, as the enamel becomes less porous. Teeth can also become stained by bacterial pigments, foodstuffs and tobacco.
The procedure to bleach teeth uses oxidising agents such as hydrogen peroxide to lighten the shade of the tooth. The oxidising agent penetrates the porosities in the rod-like crystal structure of enamel and oxidises interprismatic stain deposits, over a period of time, the dentine layer, lying underneath the enamel, is also bleached.
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