Teeth whitening or teeth bleaching is the most common procedure in cosmetic dentistry. According to an accepted definition, whitening restores natural tooth color and bleaching whitens beyond the natural color (although the two words are most of the time interchangeable).

While many whitening options are now available, including over the counter products, dentist-supervised treatments remain the recommended procedures for lightening discolored teeth.

Causes of tooth discoloration

Normally, deciduous teeth are whiter than the adult teeth. As a person ages, the adult teeth often become darker due to changes in the mineral structure of the tooth.

In addition, teeth can become stained by bacterial pigments, food-goods or various vegetables ; certain antibacterial medications (like tetracycline) can cause teeth stains or a reduction in the brilliance of the enamel while ingesting colored liquids like coffee, tea, and red wine may also discolor teeth.

Tobacco can cause stains, while certain enamel defects (such as enamel hypoplasia or fluorosis) may lead to yellow discolored teeth.