Teeth whitening is a process that helps to whiten the teeth by eliminating any stains and discoloration. It is one of the most widely used dental cosmetic procedures because of its ability to help improve the aesthetics of your teeth. Teeth whitening is also a service that is provided by a lot of dentists, so you don’t need to travel far and wide for it.
NOTE: Whitening is not a “one-time” procedure. If you are looking to maintain the white color of your teeth, the whitening process has to be repeated time and again.
What It’s Used For
The tooth has an outer layer known as the enamel. When scattering light is reflected off the enamel, it results in the natural color of your tooth. The color of the dentine under the enamel also plays a part in determining the color of the tooth.
The thickness or roughness of the enamel is determined by the genes dominant in your body. When the enamel is thinner, the color of the dentine is more pronounced. The level of roughness (or otherwise) of the enamel is also going to play a role in determining the level of reflection of light (and as such, the color of the tooth).
Every day, there is a pellicle (essentially, a thin coating) that forms on the enamel. The purpose of the pellicle is picking stains. There are also pores on the enamel that help to hold any stains.
The following are the major reasons why teeth easily get yellow:
- The use of tobacco: The excessive use of tobacco over time will eventually smear the teeth
- The consumption of dark-colored drinks: When you drink dark-colored drinks (coffee, tea, cola, red wine, etc.) on a regular basis, your teeth will also develop color
- Poor oral hygiene: An inability to take good care of your teeth will cause discoloration as well, as your teeth pick up stains everywhere.
- Aging: Also, as you get older, the enamel gets thinner and the dentine under it gets darker as well. Thus, the teeth naturally become less bright.
It is also possible for you to have stains that are embedded in your teeth. These stains are known as intrinsic stains, and they can be caused by various factors such as the exposure to excess fluoride (most probably as a child, when the teeth are still in the development process). Other causes of intrinsic stains are tetracycline antibiotics. These antibiotics are usually taken by pregnant women during the second stage of their pregnancy, and they can stain a child’s teeth. Tetracycline antibiotics can also be taken by children, and it tends to leave particles in teeth that are still developing.
Teeth whitening procedures are used to brighten the appearance of a patient’s smile – sometimes by as many as 2-3 shades in a single session. According to the American Dental Association, teeth whitening procedures have become some of the most popular esthetic dental treatments among patients throughout the country, including Lees Summit. Professional teeth whitening services can be performed in an office setting or prescribed for take-home use by a patient. In comparison to over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments, professional whitening uses stronger whitening agents that deliver faster and more effective results. Dr. Laudie offers a very inexpensive take home tooth whitening kit with custom made trays for just the cost of the materials. Where this may cost $400 in other locations, Dr. Laudie wants anyone who is excited to whiten their teeth to have that chance. Currently it’s just $25 for the first set of trays.
Before and After
Did you know…
that the teeth naturally darken as we age? Furthermore, certain foods, beverages, medications and habits can contribute to a darker, yellowed, or stained smile. However, it is possible to erase years of stains in a single professional whitening session and sustain those results for many years with proper maintenance. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, professional whitening is best maintained by a combination of good oral care and take-home whitening treatments as recommended by your dentist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a Candidate for Teeth Whitening?
You may be a candidate for professional teeth whitening if you are experiencing discoloration, but otherwise have healthy teeth and healthy gums. Schedule a consultation to find out if tooth whitening could be right for you. Some patients, such as those who are pregnant or sensitive to whitening agents, may not be candidates for professional whitening.
What Should I Expect When I Get In-office Teeth Whitening??
Teeth whitening consists of a thorough cleaning and polishing of the teeth, with all debris carefully removed. Your dentist will then protect your gums before applying a whitening agent to the surface of your teeth. The product will be activated and left on the teeth for several minutes before being washed off with water. Your results will vary according to the natural shade of your teeth and degree of discoloration, but it is normal for patients to experience a lightening of several shades in a single visit.
What Type of Post-Treatment Care is Required After Having My Teeth Whitened?
It is normal to experience some tooth sensitivity following a professional whitening treatment. You may be instructed to avoid consuming highly pigmented beverages for at least 24 hours to prevent the teeth from becoming stained again. Examples include tea, coffee and wine. Depending on your results and long-term teeth whitening goals, you may also be sent home from your procedure with an at-home whitening kit for later use.