In recent years, different types of teeth whitening have increased in popularity. Although teeth are typically mostly white, did you know that tooth enamel color can come in many different shades? Especially over time – your enamel can become discolored or stained. Tooth discoloration can occur for multiple reasons out of your control including injury or illness.
Research was conducted asking individuals what they would like to improve most about their smiles. The most common answer in this study was that people wanted whiter teeth (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry).
According the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, nearly 90% of patients asked about teeth whitening treatments. So you’re not alone if you have been thinking about whitening your teeth lately.
Get the Facts
So you are considering brightening your smile? Be sure you know ALL the facts about what to expect from whatever whitening treatment you decide to do. Talk with your Orlando dentist to determine if you are a candidate for professional teeth whitening. You can also learn which is going to be the best whitening method for your needs.
Keep in mind – PRIOR to professional whitening, your dentist will recommend a thorough exam & full mouth x-ray’s. You may require a cleaning prior to whitening depending on the last time you visited a hygienist.
If you’re considering teeth whitening, be sure you know the facts about the process and what to expect. You should also check with your dental provider to make sure you’re a candidate for teeth whitening and to learn the best whitening method for your unique situation.
Discolored Teeth Cause
As you get older – you may see your teeth change in color. This can be caused by multiple reasons:
Soda, tea, coffee, and red wine are notorious for causing tooth stains. The color pigment in these drinks are so intense that they have their own name, they’re called chromogens. These chromogens attach to the white on your enamel (the outer part of your tooth) which causes stains or discoloration.
There are a couple of chemicals in tobacco that lead to tough teeth stains. Nicotine and tar are the biggest culprits of causing teeth stains. Tar contributes to staining because it is naturally dark, meanwhile, nicotine has no color until it is mixed with oxygen. When oxygen and nicotine mix, it transitions into a yellowish substance causing teeth stains.
Underneath your tooth enamel is an even softer layer of the tooth called dentin. Which, in nature, is more yellow. As we get older, our tooth enamel thins out which leads to more of the yellowish dentin to show through.
Being hit in the mouth or other types of mouth injuries may cause your tooth color change. This happens due to your teeth not receiving adequate blood flow any longer. The tooth may end up healing itself over time… or it may just die altogether. It’s best to have a dentist examine your mouth injury so they can recommend treatment for the future.
Some high blood pressure medications, antihistamines, and antipsychotics may have side effects that cause your teeth to darken. Younger children who were exposed to antibiotics such as doxycycline and tetracycline while in the womb or while their teeth are forming may have discolored teeth when they hit adulthood. Neck radiation and chemotherapy may also cause teeth to darken.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth whitening is actually simpler than you might think. It all depends on the product you chose and if you decide to whiten your teeth professionally by your dentist or at home.
Whitening products utilize one of the following tooth bleaching ingredients: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals help break tooth stains into smaller pieces and reduce the color concentration which helps make your teeth look brighter.
Does Teeth Whitening Work on All Teeth?
Sadly, whitening doesn’t work all of your teeth. Thus, it is very important to talk with your dentist to identify the right option for your teeth. Some teeth whitening systems do not correct all types of discoloration and staining. Typically yellow teeth bleach better than brown teeth. Brown and gray teeth might not respond to the chemicals as well as yellow teeth do.
It’s also important to note that whitening doesn’t work on caps, crowns, veneers, fillings, or other dental appliances. If your teeth are discolored due to trauma or medication, bleaching your teeth may not be effective.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Getting your teeth professionally whitened is done inside a dentist’s office. These types of whitening treatments are much stronger than the other two alternatives above because the solution contains more peroxide. This option can change your tooth color faster than at-home methods.
Professional whitening typically only takes about an hour. Your gum tissues are covered with a protective gel or a thin sheet of rubber to help protect your mouth from the peroxide. In conjunction with the peroxide, occasionally a laser or light will be used.
The Difference Between At-Home Teeth Whitening and Professional Teeth Whitening
There are many differences between professional teeth whitening and at-home whitening. It all depends personally on the type of results you want to achieve as well as your overall oral health.
The time it takes to whiten your teeth at the dentist’s office versus whitening them at home is significantly different. Professional teeth whitening takes about 1-2 hours at the office but will lift the shade of your teeth up to 8 times whiter. On the other hand, at home treatments require you to whiten about 1-2 hours per day for multiple days or weeks for your teeth to turn 3-6 shades whiter.
On average, at-home whitening kits cost about $50, whereas professional teeth whitening are about $300* or more. In terms of professional teeth whitening, many people find that it’s more beneficial because the whitening occurs faster and is completed in one sitting. Versus at-home whitening kits, people may experience inconsistent results depending on your oral health and your teeth.
Professional whitening can penetrate deep below the surface of the tooth which in turn will help your teeth stay whiter, longer compared to at-home treatments.
If you find yourself interested in professional whitening or even at-home whitening, call to schedule a consultation with us today. We can help you determine which method is the best for you!