Teeth whitening is one of the most popular treatments in cosmetic dentistry. Just a single one-hour session can lighten your teeth as many as five to ten shades. If your teeth are stained from contact with everyday foods and beverages, teeth whitening can spruce up your smile and restore your self-confidence.
Causes of Dental Staining
The most common cause of stains on the teeth is exposure to substances you consume regularly every day. Some of the usual culprits for staining include:
- Wine and fruit juices
- Strongly colored fruits and vegetables
These substances cause stains on the exterior of the tooth. Because this type of staining only affects the outer enamel, it is referred to as extrinsic staining. It responds very well to teeth whitening procedures.
Teeth can also be discolored because of conditions that affect the deeper layers of the tooth, such as the dentin, which lies beneath the enamel. This type of staining is called intrinsic staining, and generally does not respond well to teeth whitening. Other cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as cosmetic veneers, are often used to deal with this type of discoloration.
What Can I Expect from a Teeth Whitening Procedure?
A professional teeth whitening procedure is generally performed in your dentist’s office. Your dentist applies a professional-strength bleaching agent to the surfaces of your teeth. Some types of whitener require activation with a special light. The whitener is left on your teeth for about twenty minutes, then removed the procedure is repeated twice more. Your teeth will immediately look brighter and whiter, but over the next week or so that whitening will become even more pronounced.
If your teeth do not respond well to an in-office whitening treatment, your dentist may recommend a take-home, professional-strength whitening kit. This type of whitening uses custom-made trays and professional strength whitener, and takes about two weeks to complete. For other types of staining, your dentist might recommend veneers or cosmetic crowns.
Discuss your own options by calling our office today!