Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that your dentist can use to give you a vigorous, white smile once again. It is a non-invasive procedure and it is one of the more affordable cosmetic options available to patients. Because it is a cosmetic treatment, teeth whitening may not be covered by your dental insurance policy. Check with your insurance provider to know for certain.
Why Teeth Whitening?
Teeth can become stained or darkened due to a number of different factors. Teeth whitening is an option that can remove stains and restore the teeth to a fresher, whiter appearance. Here are some of the factors that can cause teeth to stain or darken:
Tobacco: Tobacco contains two staining agents that can lead to stubborn teeth staining: Tar and nicotine.
Food and Drink: Food and drink are two of the most common things that can stain a person’s teeth. Coffee, tea and red wine can stain the teeth due to pigments in them that actually attach to the tooth’s enamel.
Trauma: Being struck in the mouth can cause one or more teeth to darken. The dentin is the darker layer of material underneath the tooth’s enamel. When a person is struck in the mouth, it can cause the tooth to release more dentin as a defense mechanism.
Age: The enamel on the teeth wears out as we age. This can cause the layer of dentin beneath the enamel to show through more prominently, giving the teeth a yellowish appearance.
Certain Medications: Certain medical treatments and medications can cause the teeth to darken as a side effect. This can include antihistamines, anti-psychotics, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments to the head and neck. Children exposed to certain antibiotics before they lose their baby teeth can also experience darker teeth when they grow up.
How Teeth Whitening in Reseda, CA Works
An in-office teeth whitening procedure can produce the fastest results. However, if you are willing to be patient about the process, your dentist can prescribe an at-home teeth whitening kit that will produce better results in the long run.
For the in-office procedure, the dentist or a dental technician will apply a rubber dam to protect the gums. A highly-concentrated peroxide gel is then applied to the teeth. The gel is left in place for about 15 minutes and then removed, so the results can be assessed. Additional treatments can be applied for up to an hour, until the desired level of whiteness is achieved. If the teeth are badly stained, it may require more than one office visit to fully whiten the teeth, or your dentist may prescribe an at-home whitening kit to finish the process.
Is Teeth Whitening Right for Me?
Whether or not teeth whitening will work for you depends on how the teeth became discolored in the first place. If the teeth were darkened by an injury or medications, teeth whitening will not work. Whitening will not change the coloration of crowns, veneers, caps or fillings. Yellow teeth respond very well to teeth whitening, but brown teeth are more difficult. Gray teeth can’t be altered by teeth whitening gels.
Side Effects from Teeth Whitening:
Teeth whitening can lead to sensitivity in the teeth for some patients. This happens when the enamel is thin and the whitening gel exposes the tooth’s dentin. The sensitivity will go away on its own in time. Overuse of teeth whiteners can cause damage to the tooth enamel or gums, so be sure to follow the dentist’s instructions when using an at-home kit.
Teeth whitening is a popular and pain-free procedure. If you’d like to safely and quickly whiten your smile, contact our office today for an appointment to determine whether teeth whitening is right for you.