The term 'whitening' strictly speaking is a misnomer. This is because natural color of teeth is never perfectly white. It is a combination of white and yellow in varying proportions. Broadly, the procedure aims at restoring the natural white color of the teeth.
Bleaching can be done By the dentist in the dental clinic or at home by various commercially available bleaching kits. However, before directly jumping to the home bleaching, it is important that a dentist be consulted. This is important since home bleaching product may not be effective or indicated for every individual. Generally, the first bleaching is done at the dental office, with the follow up being done by the home bleaching products. However from a safety point of view and for best results both home and office bleaching should be monitored by the dentist.
Extrinsic Stains: These stains are caused by tea, coffee, cigarettes, pan masala and other tobacco products, spicy food containing lots of red chillies and turmeric. Since these stains are of exogenous origin, they can be removed by bleaching.
Intrinsic stains: These stains are of developmental origin being incorporated within the structure of the tooth. These stains are caused by factors which operate at the time when the tooth is being formed. Common factors responsible for intrinsic staining include drinking of water with high fluoride content, ingestion of tetracyline medication, and injury to the tooth. Bleaching does effect these stains too but the effect varies depending on the severity of the clinical condition.