Everyone wants to have a mouth full of pearly white teeth. However, most of us also live in the real world where things like soda, coffee, tea, wine, and more can cause some amount of staining to our teeth. So, what can be done to get these shiny, white teeth? Teeth whitening is one option that is prevalent and available at your Turlock dentist.
There are some things you should know before calling up a cosmetic dentist and making an appointment for this procedure though. We will look at how tooth whitening works, what options are available, the benefits and disadvantages of whitening your teeth, and who is appropriate for the procedure. However, let’s start with the basics first: how does tooth whitening work?
Tooth Whitening Procedure
To understand how tooth whitening works, you need to understand the ways that teeth can become discolored and stained. There are two different ways this occurs, extrinsically and intrinsically.
Extrinsic stains are surface stains that might be left by coffee or tea. Regular teeth brushing will go a long way toward removing these everyday stains. Intrinsic staining, on the other hand, is harder to change because it refers to the years of exposure to extrinsic stains. These stains take hold beneath the enamel of your teeth.
When you go in to visit a tooth whitening specialist, the first thing we will do is take an impression of your teeth. You will then make another appointment when you pick up your custom bleach splints. Your dentist will also provide you with a special bleaching agent you will place into the clear trays.
You will typically wear these trays for a few hours a day, and the special agent will remove stubborn stains out of your enamel. It does this without causing any problems to your current dental work and does not alter the tooth structure in any way. You will continue treatment until your teeth are the brightness you desire. After that, occasional treatment will ensure the color stays.
What Causes Yellowing Teeth
We mentioned above a few ways that teeth can become stained, but there are more. What happens in many cases is that teeth have some sort of problem and as the tooth repairs itself, the dentin comes in darker. The enamel is also becoming thinner due to general wear and tear, allowing that yellow look to come through. Other than staining or aging, here are some other reasons your teeth may have a yellow look.
Genetics, which determine the color of your teeth
- Silver Fillings
- Taking tetracycline before the age of 10
- Hitting or falling on a tooth
- Using too much fluoride
- Amelogenesis Imperfecta (AI), which is a rare dental disorder that makes teeth brown or yellow
How Bleaching Agents Work
In general, typical whitening gels provided by your dentist in Turlock will contain an oxidizing agent, such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. This is the active ingredient in most agents. The gel will react with the inside of your tooth to mix with discolored areas and break the stain apart.
Interesting Facts About Teeth Whitening
So, you have the basics down, but that often leaves a lot more questions about the teeth whitening procedure. We have compiled some facts that often shed more light on what teeth whitening entails and how it works. We will look at some of those things now.
Teeth have pores like your skin does.
Whatever is placed in your mouth that has color is absorbed into these pores. The most active substances that cause staining are wine, dark berries, coffee, and smoking. As time passes, the color of your teeth will become darker due to these stains. This will not go away unless you work to remove them. Teeth whitening gel will work by absorbing into the teeth and pushing stains out the pores.
Many people worry that whitening their teeth will damage them.
That is not the case. While anything was done wrong can be damaging, including simply brushing your teeth too hard, teeth whitening by a tooth whitening specialist is safe if done as instructed. The process will use ingredients that open the pores in your teeth and lift stains. After a session of whitening, your teeth will rehydrate and remineralize.
Most of the teeth whitening products out in the world use basically the same ingredients.
However, the device holding the whitening agent can vary quite a bit. A custom-fitted whitening tray that ensures every part of your tooth receives coverage is what makes the difference. This type of product eliminates the possibility of inconsistencies and will ensure all your teeth whiten at the same rate.
A custom fitted tray costs, on average, $400 or more.
The reason for this is because the tray requires a lot of time and concentration to get right. You want to have the best possible tray in your mouth, so all your teeth get excellent coverage with the whitening agent. It might seem expensive, but it is often worth it to get that shiny, white smile you desire.
Having sensitivity after teeth whitening is common.
Studies show that 60% of American have sensitive teeth, which is largely caused by genetics, damaged teeth, or thin enamel. The teeth being whitened by a Turlock dentist will be dehydrated at first, which reduces their ability to insulate the nerves from temperature changes. However, this extra sensitivity will only last for 12 to 36 hours after whitening. Some dentists will recommend a fluoride treatment after whitening to promote rehydration.
One type of whitening is UV light teeth whitening
The FDA regulates this process, and it is only offered under the supervision of a dentist. While this treatment is quick to whiten teeth, it is not a great option for those with sensitive teeth. Also, the results can be temporary and often still require maintenance. It is also more expensive and time-consuming than other options.
Blue LED lights may also be sold by teeth whitening companies that claim they will whiten teeth faster.
This is simply untrue because the light does not create an ultra-violet light frequency. The blue may be aesthetically pleasing, but it works the same as any other teeth whitener so don’t pay more for it.
While on the subject, there is no way to remove tooth stains overnight.
It is chemically impossible for a whitening agent to safely penetrate into the teeth so quickly. The whitening process can take anywhere from a few days to many months. Those with extensive staining will need to be patient and realize each session does a little more to remove stains that have been there for years. Once the teeth are white, maintenance will be a breeze.
Teeth whitening products may have largely the same ingredients, but they do come in different strengths.
This applies to drugstore options and the ones that dentists provide you. However, you are more likely to be successful with the dentist’s options, as they can determine what will best work for you, plus you get a custom fitting gel tray.
Unfortunately, those who have veneers or caps installed cannot whiten the dental work.
These items are installed to match your surrounding teeth, and the shade cannot be changed. However, teeth whitening will also not damage or cause issues with any existing dental work.
Whitening of the teeth is best done just before bedtime.
The reason for this is because, after whitening, your teeth are susceptible to restaining due to the pores being more open. When you have your teeth whitened just before bed, they can begin with remineralizing and rehydrating while you enjoy a night’s rest. There are also desensitizing gels that your cosmetic dentist can suggest if needed.
The truth of the matter is that not everyone can have perfect, white teeth.
Some of that is related to genetic makeup and the natural color of your teeth. However, a whitening process can remove any stains to make your teeth look nicer overall. It is important to be aware of this before going into tooth whitening expecting something that may not happen.
Who is a Candidate for Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening agents can offer a benefit to nearly anyone and is one of the least aggressive options for having a more aesthetically pleasing smile. Whitening will lighten the shade of the tooth by removing stains and can do a lot for someone who is self-conscious about their teeth and smile. However, treatments will vary and won’t work the same for every person.
The person who will most benefit from this procedure will be someone who is a tea or coffee drinker, tobacco user, or those with stains from dietary habits. This type of stain is usually somewhere from a yellow to a brown and occurs on the outer surface of the teeth. These are often the easiest stains to lighten and remove. However, if the person continues their habit of smoking or frequently drinking coffee or tea, the results may be more subpar. If you have one of these habits can do not wish to discontinue, a desensitizing gel might be used to act as a sealant after whitening to block the pores of the teeth, so further stains do not get in.
Anyone with intrinsic stains will likely need more treatments than those with extrinsic ones. Intrinsic stains are below the surface and may be gray or brownish gray. The gel, in this case, has to pass through the enamel and into the dentin. Unfortunately, gray is the hardest color to remove, so it will require more patience and dedication to achieve the best results.
Who Should Not Whiten Their Teeth
There are a few groups of people for whom whitening is not suggested. This includes anyone with oral cancer, periodontal disease, chronic sensitivity, or those with extremely damaged enamel. In addition, teeth that appear to be translucent may get worse with each application and should not be whitened further. It is also generally recommended that any cavities or gum problems be cleared up before teeth whitening occurs.
Different Types of Whitening
While this article primarily looks at the whitening that a professional dentist can do, there are other options to be aware of. Some can be done at home while others require the assistance of a professional.
So, first of all, the name of this product is pretty misleading. Toothpaste can lighten your teeth on a superficial level if it is more abrasive than traditional toothpaste, but it can do nothing for the internal portion of your teeth. So, it can remove stains, but don’t expect any miracles. However, you should not use it on a regular basis as it can cause sensitivity and even lead to gum recession.
Some whitening is done in the dentist’s office with a number of sessions that last an hour or so at a time. Peroxide will be applied to the teeth, and UV light is used to accelerate the whitening process. This is a good option if you need your teeth whitened quickly. However, it tends to be expensive and still requires the maintenance of a whitening tray.
Whitening trays are custom made by your Turlock dentist. You squeeze gel into them and wear them for a certain amount of time. This is the most cost-effective option, and you can use the trays for the rest of your life, barring your teeth moving positions.
As you can see, there are many options available for teeth whitening, but a custom-made dental tray with special gel is often the best choice. It does the job well, it is specialized for your needs, and the cost is less significant than other options.
Visit our Turlock Dentist Office for Teeth Whitening
If you have been wondering whether teeth whitening is for you, we can help. At Eggleston Dental Care we offer dental whitening and are happy to provide you with more information or set an appointment for a consultation. Just give us a call at 209-634-9582. You can also contact us online. We would love to help you on the road toward a brighter smile!