Having an in-office teeth whitening treatment performed is extremely popular today. In fact, almost 90% of patients inquired about the treatment at some point during a dental visit, according to a recent survey. Teeth whitening is the most common type of treatment for enhancing the aesthetics of one's smile.
Let's take a look at this popular dental service in depth so that you can understand everything that is involved with in-office teeth whitening to help you achieve the smile of your dreams.
To begin, it may be helpful to shed some light on how teeth become stained in the first place. Discoloration can occur due to various factors like:
Eating and drinking certain foods and beverages. Tea, coffee and red wine are just a few of the beverages that can discolor your teeth. All of these contain certain pigments that have an affinity for tooth enamel, the outer white part of your tooth.
Using tobacco is a major factor in tooth discoloration. The nicotine and tar contained in tobacco are both contributing factors.
Trauma to teeth. An injury can cause a tooth to turn a different color. This can be because a tooth is attempting to strengthen itself by creating more dentin. The dentin layer of teeth is colored more darkly compared to the outer, whiter tooth enamel.
Age is another factor that can cause tooth discoloration. As we grow older, the whiter tooth enamel can thin out, leaving the darker-colored dentin layer to show through.
Certain medications are known to cause tooth discoloration, including some antipsychotics, antihistamines, antibiotics and high blood pressure medications.
How Dentists Whiten Teeth
If you are looking for an in-office teeth whitening treatment, you have a few treatment options, such as:
Having the dentist form a mold of your teeth to create a special tray in which a bleaching gel can be placed to remain in contact with your teeth.
Laser whitening. Your dentist will paint a bleaching agent onto your teeth, followed by the use of a strong laser that activates the bleach's whitening properties. Treatment takes about an hour.
Chair-side bleaching. Your dentist will use a rubber dam or protective gel to protect your gums before applying a bleaching agent to your teeth. Only one dental visit is required for this type of teeth whitening.
After Teeth Whitening
It is important to avoid the consumption of dark-colored liquids after your teeth whitening treatment, because they can again become stained. A good rule of thumb is that anything that can stain a white shirt can also stain your teeth.
Limit your consumption of acidic beverages. This is particularly true of dark-colored beverages that are also acidic, because they pack a one-two punch. The acids eat away at the tooth enamel, allowing for better penetration of the staining liquids.
Do not forget to limit your consumption of sugary foods and snacks. These types of foods encourage bacterial growth that can cause tooth decay and eventual discoloration.