Teeth whitening is a popular and commonly requested cosmetic dentistry procedure. It is designed to enhance your appearance by reducing tooth discoloration and staining to bring out your brighter, whiter smile.
Causes of Tooth Discoloration
There are a number of reasons that can cause staining of your teeth. Teeth are porous and therefore not resistant to stains.
Smoking and excessive consumption of coffee, tea, and sodas are among some of the food items that can cause tooth discoloration over a period of time.
Certain medications (e.g. antibiotics such as tetracycline) can cause significant staining, resulting in yellow, grayish teeth.
Tooth discoloration can also result due to flourosis (i.e. increased quantities of fluoride in the water), dental caries and enamel dysplasias (abnormalities in the enamel structure).
Tooth trauma caused by a fall or sudden impact can cause tooth discoloration. Trauma could result in tooth death (tooth necrosis) which causes discoloration. Root Canal Treatment is required for the treatment of tooth necrosis, after which internal bleaching can be performed to correct discoloration.
Tooth brushing alone cannot brighten teeth dulled by years of exposure to such discoloring agents. People with dull teeth sometimes over-brush in an attempt to eliminate stains- this process causes wearing away of the enamel and the exposure of the underlying dentine which is yellowish in color.
Before you consider Teeth Whitening:
Teeth whitening serves as an adequate solution to discoloration. However, the effectiveness of teeth whitening can vary, depending on the individual, their lifestyle and habits. Tooth sensitivity can be managed by use of de-sensitizing products available in the market.
At DENTAL SPA patient satisfaction is very important to us. Occasionally tooth discoloration is so severe that whitening alone cannot fully treat the problem. In these situations, our dentists will advise patients on other options to enable them to enhance their smile.
Laser Teeth Whitening:
The advantage of having your teeth whitened in the dental office is that this approach is fast and produces dramatic results. The procedure takes from an hour to a maximum of two hours. Teeth can be whitened by several shades – tooth shade charts are used during the consultation stage of treatment to establish your current shading and determine your whitening goal. In-office whitening is unique in this respect, as your dentist has more control over achieving your specific teeth whitening goals.
During your teeth whitening procedure, you are made comfortable while your teeth are prepared. Your dentist places a guard in your mouth to protect the lips and gums from a whitening gel that is applied to the teeth.
In some types of in-office whitening, application of the whitening gel occurs in three sessions over the course of the visit. A special lamp is used to activate the whitening gel and speed up the whitening process. Once the gel is activated, it remains on the teeth for 15-20 minutes until the next application.
Home bleaching Kits:
The most effective at-home whitening systems use a prescription-strength gel kit available at the dental clinic. At DENTAL SPA customized trays are made for you which can be used with the whitening gels to achieve optimum results.
Application times vary greatly for the various dentist-dispensed, at-home products. Wear times of 30-60 minutes, once or twice a day, are common; results are achieved in a little as three days, but more commonly 5-10 or more days.
Advantages of at-home products include cost and the ability to re-treat as needed. If you have used laser teeth whitening, home bleaching is an excellent way to maintain the brightness of your smile.
At DENTAL SPA we offer a range of whitening products that can be used on their own or in conjunction with whitening procedures to maintain your bright white smile.
Things you can do to maintain Your Smile:
In order to maximize the longevity of your whitening treatment, it is important to avoid food and drink that could stain your teeth for about a week after whitening, as well as to refrain from smoking.
Your dentist will advise you to maintain excellent oral hygiene (brush and floss after every meal) and steer clear of some of the more common causes of discoloration (coffee, tea, red wine, etc.). Smokers wishing to undergo whitening treatment are advised to stop smoking in order to prevent the staining it causes. Discuss such considerations with your dentist during your initial whitening consultation.