Teeth whitening is highly popular among people of all ages and for a good reason. A white, bright smile can significantly boost your confidence and encourage you to share your dazzling smile with others. But you may be curious about teeth whitening. How does it work? Are there multiple ways to whiten your teeth? What are the side effects? At Catonsville Dental Care, we hear a lot of these questions. If you are interested in teeth whitening, keep reading to learn the essential facts about this standard cosmetic dental treatment.
How Do Teeth Become Discolored?
How do your teeth lose their white color anyway? There are many reasons why your teeth may have become discolored. Eating certain foods and beverages commonly impacts your teeth’ color. Drinking red wine, coffee, or tea will stain your teeth because these beverages have pigments that attach to your tooth enamel. Tar and nicotine in tobacco products will also produce brown and yellow stains.
As we age, the enamel of our teeth thins, and the underlying yellowish dentin will show through more clearly. Certain medications can also cause your teeth to become discolored. These may include antihistamines, antibiotics, high blood pressure medication, and chemotherapy.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth whitening is a bleaching process achieved with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. An oxidation reaction occurs that breaks down staining agents and restores the whiteness of your teeth.
Teeth Whitening Options
At Your Dentist’s Office
Professional teeth whitening at your dentist’s office is often the fastest and safest way to whiten teeth. Under the supervision of a dentist, a higher concentration of whitening agents is used. A single treatment can take less than 90 minutes and whiten your teeth up to 10 shades.
Teeth Whitening Strips
Whitening strips are a more affordable, at-home alternative. These consist of a thin strip of material coated with hydrogen peroxide-based gel. However, overlapping or turned teeth may end up with odd spots that aren’t treated, or you may have problems getting the strips to seal correctly.
Teeth Whitening Trays
You fill a tray with whitening gel and wear the tray for 30 minutes a day or overnight for several weeks, depending on your treatment plan and whitening goals. If your dentist offers this option, they can create custom whitening trays that fit precisely to your teeth. Over-the-counter trays may be uncomfortable to wear, as they are an imperfect fit.
Toothpaste and Rinses
Whitening toothpastes and rinses work by using mild abrasives that remove surface stains. These methods may be best to use as maintenance for your newly whitened teeth so everyday stains don’t linger too long.
Teeth Whitening Doesn’t Work On All Teeth
Yellow teeth will bleach well, brown stains will be less impacted, and gray or purple tones may not respond. There may also be a lack of response if your tooth discoloration results from medications or a tooth injury. Additionally, any crowns, fillings, caps, or veneers will not react to whitening.
The most common side-effect of teeth whitening is tooth sensitivity. This occurs when the whitening agent penetrates the enamel and irritates the tooth’s nerve. The effect is short-term, and you can try the application again once the sensitivity wears off.
Always follow label directions or consult with your dentist on using at-home products. Overusing these products can damage your gums or tooth enamel.
Catonsville Dental Care Can Handle All of Your Oral Care Needs
Catonsville Dental Care offers a wide variety of services when it comes to oral health. We have the experience and understanding to diagnose and treat any problem you have as quickly and painlessly as possible. With four dentists available at our office and a commitment to comfort, safety, and relaxation, you can’t find a better provider for your health. We look forward to helping you keep your smile perfect all year long and talking with you about your needs. To schedule an appointment or consultation, visit us online or give us a call at 410-747-1115. For more tips and tricks, follow us on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube.