Teeth whitening is a quick, easy, and common procedure that can greatly improve the way your teeth look. If you have stains or discoloration on your teeth, a single, one-hour whitening appointment with your dentist can make a huge difference. However, for some types of discoloration, whitening is not the most effective treatment.
How Does Whitening Work?
Teeth whitening makes use of a professional-strength bleaching agent to remove stains from the tooth surfaces. The whitener is applied by your cosmetic dentist, in her office, and is left for about twenty minutes. Some whitening agents require a special light to activate them and increase their effectiveness. During the treatment, your gums, lips, and tongue are protected with special appliances so they won’t be irritated by the whitener.
After twenty minutes, your cosmetic dentist removes the whitener and applies it again. Each single treatment uses three applications of whitener and takes about an hour. If your teeth don’t respond to in-office treatment, a professional-strength take-home treatment might be more effective.
Will Whitening Work for Me?
Whitening works best for stains on the surface of the front teeth. This type of staining generally occurs when your teeth are exposed to substances like:
- Fruit juices
If this is the cause of your tooth staining, whitening will probably work well for you. However, other types of discoloration, called intrinsic discoloration, does not respond well to whitening.
Whitening might not work well for you if you:
- Were exposed to certain antibiotics while your teeth were developing
- Were exposed to excessive fluoride while your teeth were developing
- Have severely injured your tooth
- Have malformed enamel or other issues with tooth structure
- Have veneers, inlays, or onlays that are different color from your other teeth
Antibiotics, fluoride, trauma, and malformed enamel cause discoloration that affects the entire tooth rather than just the surface. This type of staining rarely responds to whitening, and is usually treated with veneers. Veneers, inlays, and onlays do not respond to whitening treatment, so if they look darker than your other teeth, you will have to have them replaced to correct the color differences.
Call our office at Newton Dental Group to determine if teeth whitening is the right option for you!