Tooth Whitening: A 101 Guide

Tips, Information and Tricks Offered by Chestnut Hills Dental, Triangle Family Dentistry and Burkhart Dental

Look in the mirror and you think,” hmm, I might need to get  my teeth whitened.” you are tired of looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing  that definite sign of aging. you shy away from the cameras, and even though your teeth are healthy you still feel embarrassed by them. it may be time to consider teeth whitening. but what process do you want to use? does home-based teeth whitening work as well as dental office whitening? These are the questions we want to address in this article. so we turn to our Associates at Chestnut Hills Dental, Triangle Family Dentistry and Burkhart Dental.


What Is It? Burkhart Dental Answers This Question

What you need is a process that light color and helps remove stains and discoloration caused by age food and genetics. lightning is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it significantly improves how your teeth look period most dentists perform teeth whitening processes.

A professional dental teeth whitening process is not a one-time procedure. it needs to be repeated once in awhile so your teeth maintain that brighter color.


What Makes Me Need a Teeth Whitening Process?

Teeth whitening is a profit off of recommended to adults and it’s because the outer layer of the tooth because change over time. This outer layer of the tooth is called the enamel end its natural color is different for different people. The color comes from the reflection of light off of the enamel combined with the natural color of the dentin  underneath. your genes affect the thickness and smoothness of the enamel. people who have thinner enamel will have a lot more of the Dentin to show through. while having smooth or rough enamel also affects the reflection of light and therefore the color, suggest the experts at Triangle Family Dentistry.

Every day, a thin coating (pellicle) forms on the enamel and picks up stains. Tooth enamel also contains pores that can hold stains.

The following are the most common reasons for yellowing or stained teeth:

  • Using tobacco
  • Drinking dark-colored liquids such as coffee, cola, tea and red wine
  • Not taking good care of your teeth

As we age we Might notice that teeth are less bright and that the enamel gets  thinner as the dentin becomes darker.

Some people also have stayed inside the tube which are known as intrinsic stains.  these things can be caused by exposure to too much fluoride as a child while the teeth are developing or to the use of tetracycline antibiotics. these contain protein when the mother take this medication during the second half is pregnant, or when a child under the age of 8 takes the medication. Trauma is another cause of darkening tooth stains.A teeth whitening process can be effective for everyone but it is most effective only on surface stains.


How It’s Done?

There are two main types of whitening procedures.One of the procedures is performed on teeth with live nerves and the other is done on a tooth that has had a root canal treatment and no longer has a live nerve.


Vital Whitening

The most popular type of tooth whitening. it is a process where the dental team like the dentists at Chestnut Hills Dental  apply a gel directly to the tooth surface. this gel contains a form of hydrogen peroxide.

While in the office, your dentist will apply a bleach solution to your teeth. This bleach attacks the  colored organic molecules that lodge between the crystals of tooth enamel, and in the dentin. The dentist will leave the solution on your teeth for about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the method he uses.


when dealing with internal stains on non living teeth, the bleach can be sealed inside the tooth. Each bleaching process continues until all organic particles are rendered colorless. The bleaching process works best on yellow stains and sometimes even brown stains, but may not work on grey stains. Note that  bonding materials and fillings cannot be bleached, so you want to consider this when thinking about how these will look with your natural teeth. Be sure to ask your dentist if there will be a difference between the whitened natural teeth and any dental appliances or bonding that you already have.


Is Whitening Safe for My Teeth? Triangle Family Dentistry Gives Us Answers


The team at Triangle assured us that whitening is safe because the chemicals used to attack the organic molecules do not materially affect the mineral structure of the tooth itself. They demonstrated the  many studies supporting the overall safety of whitening by bleaching. Triangle did tell us that patients sometimes experience some temporary side effects such as tooth sensitivity. Your dentist will take precautions to protect your root surfaces to minimize your potential for tooth sensitivity.


What Type of Bleach is Used?

The team at Burkhart Dental tells us that the most conventional bleaches used by dentists contain hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide,  although most carbamide peroxide products are those used in home whitening processes. This is because it is  a more stable compound with a longer shelf life. It can also be left on the teeth for longer periods with less risk of sensitivity. Most dentists use a professional bleaching solution because these offer a faster-acting bleach, and they can lighten teeth up to 10 shades in about an hour. Even so, some people may need several treatments to get a better whitening.

The most common type of vital tooth whitening uses a gel that is applied directly to the tooth surface. This product contains some form of hydrogen peroxide.

Where Do I Get a Tooth Whitening Process Applied?  Chestnut Hills Dental Answers This Question

Tooth whitening can be done in the dentist’s office or at home. However, In-office whitening is a better option because it allows your dentist to use a more powerful whitening gel. A specialized light or laser activates the gel and allows bleaching to happen faster.

In-office whitening usually takes 30 to 90 minutes. You will need 1 to 3 appointments. The number will depend upon the method used, how severe your stains are and how white you want your teeth to be. Different types of stains respond differently to the treatment.


What Does My Dentist Do?

First, your dentist will apply a substance that covers and protects the gums around the teeth. Then, the whitening agent will be placed on the teeth.

Some whitening agents are activated by a laser light, special lights or by the heat from these lights. After the whitening agent is applied, the dentist will shine the light on your teeth. If they are badly discolored, your dentist may suggest that you continue the bleaching process at home for a few days or weeks.


Professional In-Home Whitening Process

This is a process that is supervised by your dentist say the professionals at Chestnut Hills Dental. Your dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth and will make custom mouthpieces to fit you. He makes sure that the mouthpiece  fits well. This close fit helps the whitening agent remain in contact with your teeth throughout the process.

At home, you will fill each mouthpiece with a whitening gel your dentist provides. You will wear the mouthpiece for several hours every day. Many people achieve the amount of whitening they want within a week or two. However, you may need to wear the mouthpiece for four weeks or longer.

In some cases, your dentist will provide a prescription for the  whitening products, or tell you which products you can buy over the counter. These products contain a weaker whitening agent than the products you can get from your dentist which means that the whitening may take longer. The whitening agent is applied as a gel placed in a mouthpiece or sometimes as a strip that sticks to your teeth. Although there are over the counter mouthpieces these tend to fit less securely than the kind you get from your dentist.


Dental Problems that Can Affect Success

Gentle Dental Portland suggests that there are dental problems that can affect the success of tooth whitening. For example, cavities need to be treated before teeth are whitened. That’s because the whitening solution can pass through decayed areas and reach the inner parts of the tooth. If your gums have receded, the exposed roots of your teeth may appear yellow or discolored. Whitening products will not make them whiter.

If you have tooth decay or receding gums, whitening may make your teeth sensitive. Whitening also does not work on ceramic or porcelain crowns or veneers.

When your dentist does an  in-office whitening process, he will probably photograph your teeth first. This step will help him or her to monitor the progress of the treatment. Your dentist also will examine your teeth and ask you questions to find out what caused the staining.

Next, the dentist or a dental hygienist will clean your teeth. This will remove the film of bacteria, food and other substances that build up on your teeth and contribute to the staining. Once this is done, the whitening procedure begins.

Non-Vital Whitening

The dentists at Chestnut Hills Dental tell us that vital whitening may not improve the appearance of a tooth that has had root-canal treatment. This is because the stain is coming from the inside of the tooth. If this is the case, your dentist will use a different procedure that whitens the tooth from the inside. He or she will place a whitening agent inside the tooth and put a temporary filling over it. The tooth will be left this way for several days. You may need this done only once, or it can be repeated until the tooth reaches the desired shade.


What Has Happened to My Gums?

If you find that your gums are white or sore, follow up with your dentist.


Is Whitening Permanent? Gentle Dental Portland Gives Us Answers

Your newly whitened teeth can stain again. Whitening is not a permanent solution. If you smoke or consume a lot of staining foods or drinks, you may see the whiteness start to fade in as little as one month. If you avoid these sources of staining, you may not need another whitening treatment for 6 to 12 months.


Re-whitening can be done in the dentist’s office or at home. If you have a custom-made mouthpiece and whitening agent at home, you can whiten your teeth as often as you need to. Discuss your whitening schedule with your dentist. You can talk about what whitening products would work best for you.


Are There Risks To My Teeth?: Triangle Family Dentistry Gives Us Answers

Whitening is unlikely to cause serious side effects, although some people’s teeth may become more sensitive for a short while. You may get mild gum irritation as well. Women should not have their teeth whitened while pregnant. The effect of the whitening materials on the development of the fetus is not known. Since the procedure is cosmetic, it should be postponed until after delivery.

I’ve Heard of Laser Teeth Whitening, Is This a Better Process

Laser teeth whitening may be an option available at your dental office, but the treatment is not for everyone. Product safety and efficacy is paramount for a good result with little to no side effects.

Laser Procedure

Laser teeth whitening is administered in a dental office exclusively, and is the most expensive method for whitening. Bleach is applied to each tooth, and heat generated by a laser enhances its effectiveness while ultimately speeding up the process. This procedure uses a strong bleaching gel that the laser activates and enhances for quick, dramatic results. According to the ADA, the bleach used is a hydrogen peroxide gel that ranges from 25 to 40 percent in concentration levels. With these high concentrations, special precautions are taken to reduce tooth sensitivity, as well as protect the lips, gums and other oral tissues from being damaged. They include:

  • cheek retractors
  • formulated soft or rubber dams to cover gums
  • professional application of fluoride or similar desensitizing product


What Should I Keep in Mind?

A laser teeth whitening treatment takes about an hour in the dental office and has a higher cost than other treatments. This cost depends on the particular system the office has and the number of treatments necessary.  Not everyone is a candidate for this procedure and a dental exam is necessary before being considered. Also, keep in mind that any whitening treatment is cosmetic and not covered by dental insurance.


Bottom Line

A teeth whitening process can make you look younger and make you feel better about your smile. It is not a substitute for good oral hygiene and you will still need to make your twice yearly dental check ups. However, teeth whitening can function like a face lift in that it makes you look younger and healthier.

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