As we age, our teeth do too. Sometimes, that can mean our teeth become discolored, dull, or even yellowed. If you find that you’re losing confidence in your smile because of tooth discoloration, teeth whitening can be an easy, non-invasive way to brighten your teeth and restore your smile.
What Causes Tooth Discoloration?
Teeth typically become darker as we age. Certain foods such as coffee, tea, or wine tend to darken our teeth, as does smoking and the use of tobacco products. This external discoloration can also be caused by certain antibiotics and genetic predisposition. Internal discoloration, caused by changes in tooth enamel, can also begin to darken teeth. Internal discoloration is mainly attributed to certain antibiotics, tooth trauma, root canals, and decay.
Is Teeth Whitening For You?
Not everyone is a good candidate for teeth whitening. Many conditions and issues, such as tooth decay, gum infection, sensitive teeth, or teeth with white spots, make teeth too sensitive or delicate for whitening. Also, if you’ve had dental work such as crowns or bridges, teeth whitening is not a good option. However, patients with yellow-colored, stained, or dull teeth are generally good candidates for whitening procedures.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth whitening procedures use a chemical reaction to bleach stains below the surface enamel of the teeth, resulting in a brighter appearance. Typically, hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide is used in this process.
Types of Whitening
There are three main categories of whitening products: store bought methods, at-home bleaching provided by your dental professional, and in-office dental whitening procedures. Over the counter kits come in a variety of methods, including strips, gels in trays, paint-on gel, and even whitening gum. These products are generally considered safe, and are an affordable way to whiten teeth at home.
However, while over-the-counter options are a reasonable way to whiten your teeth at a lower cost, visiting a dental professional is the faster, preferred method of whitening. With a dental provider, your whitening procedure can use stronger materials and still protect your mouth—resulting in a whiter smile than a store bought kit. An in-office procedure is simple and can lasts 1 to 2 hours, during which a whitening gel is applied to the teeth and shone with a special light to speed the chemical process. This is repeated several times until the procedure is complete. In-office whitening sessions can make teeth five to 10 times brighter.
If you’re interested in teeth whitening, contact our Allen or McKinney office today and fill out a new patient form. Our office is now accepting new patients! Or explore our other cosmetic and preventative services to see how we can help improve the health and appearance of your smile today.