PDF: Teeth whitening: Antiquated to present-day - Lacy Walker, RDH, CDA, FAAOSH

For centuries, white teeth have been a sign of wealth, beauty, and privilege. Society has long been obsessed with the esthetics associated with whiter teeth, and the number of products available to achieve this has steadily increased due to popularity and technological advances.

Stain, both intrinsic and extrinsic, is multifactorial. There are numerous whitening products on the market, and formulations and ingredients have evolved over the years. 

This course will help clinicians understand the teeth whitening products and procedures available and will cover the differences between in-office and athome products, hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, technological advancements, and the pros and cons of whitening.

Educational objectives 

1. Explain the history of teeth whitening. 
2. Discuss the etiology of intrinsic and extrinsic stains. 
3. Explain the difference between hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. 
4. Describe the difference between in-office whitening, take-home whitening, and laser whitening. 
5. Recognize the indications and contraindications for whitening and possible side effects. 
6. Select the proper whitening procedure that is best suited for each patient’s needs. 

Teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic request in almost every dental office. The general population wants whiter teeth and a perfect smile, but there’s more to consider than just bleaching or whitening the teeth. 

Some oral health factors to consider before patients decide to proceed with any whitening procedures are periodontal disease, crowding, medical history, and current restorations (e.g., fillings, crowns, and veneers). 

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