No matter how good your oral hygiene, it is normal for teeth to become yellow and duller as you age. This effect can be most efficiently combatted with professional teeth whitening services, which can quickly make your teeth shades whiter than is possible with over-the-counter products.
What Is Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is a process in which discolored teeth are treated with a product to lighten the color of the enamel to the desired shade. However, how light the teeth become depends on what product is used, and what happened to make the teeth discolored.
Reasons Why Teeth Become Discolored
There is a variety of reasons behind why our teeth become discolored. Some of the main reasons are:
- Genetics – Some people just are more prone to discolored teeth due to their genetics. This genetic disposition may lead to thinner enamel, rougher teeth surfaces, more porous teeth, or other issues.
- Age – Over a lifetime of brushing our teeth, our enamel thins out. This thinning causes the softer, yellow-colored dentin below the enamel to show through more, making our teeth appear yellow.
- Tobacco usage – The tar and nicotine in tobacco work together to create stains on teeth. While nicotine is colorless, once it interacts with oxygen, it turns yellowish and can stain teeth and tar is already a dark-colored substance.
- Drinks and food – There are many drinks that can stain your teeth, such as red wine, coffee, dark sodas, and tea. These highly pigmented beverages can attach to the enamel of your teeth, creating tough-to-remove stains. Some foods which are prone to discoloring your teeth are citrus, blackberries, pomegranates, blueberries, beets, soy sauce, curry, tomato sauce, and more.
- Medications – Certain medication can darken teeth, such as antipsychotics, antihistamines, and high blood pressure meds. Head and neck radiation can also cause teeth to darken as well as chemotherapy. Children in the womb or nursing can experience teeth darkening if their mothers take antibiotics such as doxycycline and tetracycline.
- Poor oral hygiene – For some individuals, discolored teeth is due to oral hygiene neglect. Leftover food particles attract bacteria, which erode teeth enamel, exposing the yellower dentin below.
- Dental trauma – When teeth experience trauma, they often react by layering dentin under the enamel, causing the teeth to appear more yellow. However, if the trauma is severe enough, the tooth may die. This death will leave the tooth a dark gray or black color.
Types Of Teeth Whitening Products
When you are looking to whiten your teeth, you will likely encounter a massive variety of teeth whitening products and services. These products fall into a few basic categories.
Toothpaste which is marketed to whiten your teeth contains a small number of chemicals and polishing, non-bleaching compounds, which can gently remove a certain amount of stains. These kinds of toothpaste can only remove some surface stains and cannot actually whiten your teeth.
Over-The-Counter Whitening Strips And Trays
As items available to the general public, over-the-counter whitening strips and trays have a small amount of hydrogen peroxide and other compounds that can help whiten your teeth. Generally, these whitening products can make your teeth two shades whiter. However, it easy to misuse these whitening products in an attempt to have whiter teeth, leading to:
- Gum irritation and bleeding
- Bleached gums
- Over-bleached teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Eroded enamel and dentin
Whitening your teeth is much safer when a dentist oversees the process.
Professional Whitening Trays
One of the cosmetic dentistry services Riverside Dental Care offers is professional teeth whitening. With the assistance of our dentists, we can help you make your teeth eight shades whiter, as the stronger whitening products are only available through licensed dentists like the ones at Riverside Dental Care.
If you work with one of our dentists, you will receive a custom whitening tray. That way, none of the whitening solution will escape to irritate your gums. You can also receive whitening solution from our office and use the trays until you are satisfied with the results.
In-Office Laser Whitening Treatment
Another option is in-office laser treatments that can rapidly whiten your teeth. A gel will be placed on your gums to protect them, and the laser treatment will generally be done in 15-minute bursts. Several sessions can be done one after another. However, this process can increase teeth sensitivity.
Common Teeth Whitening Questions
There are some common teeth whitening questions which our dentists have been asked over the years of helping people achieve whiter teeth. To help you find answers to your teeth whitening questions, review the questions and answers below.
Am I a candidate for teeth whitening?
The majority of people who want teeth whitening are candidates for teeth whitening. Our dentists can help you determine if you are a good candidate for professional teeth whitening.
Is teeth whitening safe?
When overseen by one of our dentists, teeth whitening is a safe process. Problems only occur when teeth whitening products are misused.
Are my veneers, crowns, or fillings going to be affected by teeth whitening?
The porcelain and composite materials found in most crowns, fillings, and veneers are generally unaffected by teeth whitening. However, the bonding between your teeth and your restorative dental product can be weakened, which is why it is important to consult with our dentists before starting any teeth whitening routine.
Will my teeth be sensitive after whitening?
Most cases of teeth sensitivity after whitening goes away after a few days. It can persist if it irritates an untreated dental condition.
How long will my teeth stay white after whitening them?
Depending on your habits, your teeth can remain white for six months to two years. However, if you cut out teeth-staining habits, food and drinks, the whitening effect can last longer.
Riverside Dental Care Offers Professional Teeth Whitening
At Riverside Dental Care, we offer professional teeth whitening services which are faster at whitening your teeth and more effective. To find out if you are a candidate for professional teeth whitening and to start working towards whiter teeth today, contact us to set up a consultation with one of our dentists.