TEETH WHITENING FOR A “HOLLYWOOD SMILE”
Discolored or non-white smiles have become less acceptable thanks to over-the-counter bleaching kits and home whitening techniques. But getting that brighter, whiter smile today may be easier than you think.
There are three ways in which teeth can be whitened:
1. A vital approach in which teeth are bleached by direct contact to the external surface
2. A non-vital approach due to discoloration of the teeth from root canal problems
3. An “Inside/Outside” method that involves using both vital and non-vital methods when bleaching
What Causes Tooth Discoloration?
Tooth discoloration can occur for a variety of reasons and can vary in severity or appearance. For some people, common causes for tooth discoloration may begin during tooth development such as changes in the structure of the tooth’s enamel or from a buildup of color-generating material into tooth tissue.
As a person ages, normal wear of teeth or issues from thickening dentine can cause discoloration. Dietary factors and smoking habits can have a severe effect on a tooth’s translucency. Red wine, coffee, and tea contain tannins that can lead to staining issues. Even healthy foods such as oranges and carrots contain pigments that can give rise to discoloration.
For severe stains and discoloration, power bleaching is the preferred choice for tooth whitening. This approach is typically done at a dental office under the supervision of a professional dentist. With power bleaching, a solution of peroxide is applied directly to the stained surface coupled with heat and/or a concentrated light source to activate the whitening chemicals.
Power bleaching can whiten teeth by five shades or more within hours, but this depends largely on the amount of peroxide used. Higher concentrations of peroxide will speed up the whitening process, although some patients may need to have multiple treatments before reaching the desired level of whiteness.
In general, excessive bleaching can create tooth sensitivity, which is why we recommend consulting a professional dentist for your teeth whitening needs. If you’re considering teeth whitening options, our staff is equipped to prevent tooth sensitivity and can recommend the proper treatment dosage for your desired level of bleaching. Contact us to learn more.