Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure sometimes referred to as dental bleaching, yet there is a difference in definition. Roth Family Dentistry can restore your teeth to their natural color and bleaching can even whiten teeth beyond the natural color. There are many reasons that teeth may become discolored and there are professional procedures as well as home procedures that may help whiten your teeth.
Reasons for Tooth Discoloration
Primary teeth are generally whiter than adult teeth that follow. Teeth become darker when their mineral structure changes, and as the enamel becomes less porous. Bacterial pigments, various dark-colored foods and beverages, tobacco, acidic foods, some antibiotic medications, and microscopic cracks in the enamel from age contribute to the staining of teeth.
There are two types of teeth stains: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains are the stains on the surface of the teeth, whereas intrinsic stains are stains within the tooth structure caused by trauma, aging, or exposure to tetracycline or excessive fluoride as a child. Microscopic cracks also fill with stains and debris and these millions of cracks in the enamel result from everyday chewing.
Types of Teeth Whitening
In-office bleaching is where cosmetic dentists specialize in teeth whitening. They may use washes, gels, laser light, or a combination of procedures. Initially, teeth will generally be examined and cleaned, and tooth color will be discussed using a shade chart. Then, a cheek retractor is inserted, a hardening resin is painted on the gums to protect them from the bleach, and bleaching gel is applied for 15 to 30 minutes. This gel is suctioned or rinsed off, and fresh gel is again applied for 15 to 30 more minutes. Intense laser light may also be used to activate or enhance bleaching gels.
Over-the-counter or practitioner supplied whiteners are whiteners used at home. They can be toothpaste, whitening strips, whitening trays, or bleaching pens. These usually contain baking soda, carbamide peroxide, or hydrogen peroxide. Most over-the-counter whitening toothpastes include minor abrasives, which scrub stains from the enamel.
Professional Teeth Whitening
The most effective and safest method of teeth whitening is the dentist-supervised procedure. First, our professionals will determine whether you are a candidate for teeth whitening and what type of whitening system would provide the best results. Our professionals also go over what you can expect for your situation. Before the teeth whitening treatment, most dentists clean the teeth, fill any cavities, and make sure the patient’s gums are healthy.
Our professionals will usually advise trying teeth whitening first, to avoid the need for more complex cosmetic work. Complications that can occur in professional teeth whitening are infrequent and are usually minor. Overall, teeth whitening under professional supervision is an effective method for whitening the teeth.
Due to the reason that teeth get stained and are less white as we age, it is important to whiten them for a beautiful smile in addition to getting regular dental exams. For more information, and to find out more about our teeth whitening process, call Roth Family Dentistry at 406-728-2745 today.