Your smile is a major factor in how others see you. It is often the first thing that others notice and can play a significant role in the impressions you leave. Normally, the teeth are a bright white color, which helps to give you a dazzling, confident smile. However, the enamel of your teeth can become dull and discolored, which can affect not only the quality of your smile but your confidence as well. Mark A. Coussens, DMD Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can restore the brilliant white color to your teeth with teeth whitening.
What is Tooth Whitening?
Your tooth enamel is a naturally bright white color. However, there are several factors that can contribute to discoloration and staining, which dull the appearance of your teeth and the quality of your smile. Factors that can lead to tooth discoloration include:
||What you eat and drink. Certain types of foods and drinks have a significant number of dark pigments. These pigments can stick to your teeth, dulling their natural brilliance. Common contributors to discoloration include coffee, red wine, and dark berries.
||Smoking and other tobacco products. Tobacco products contain numerous chemicals. Tar and nicotine are chemicals that can also cause staining. Tar is naturally dark and can lead to brown stains. Nicotine is colorless until exposed to air. Once it has been exposed to air, it turns yellow.
||Certain medications. Some medications can cause deep, dark stains on your teeth.
||Age. As you get older, your enamel thins. This allows the dentin, a darker layer of your teeth, to show through.
Tooth whitening is a simple, painless procedure that is designed to eliminate stains and discoloration from your teeth. In doing so, your teeth are restored to their natural white brilliance. This aids to improve the appearance of your teeth and boost the quality of your smile. Whitening your teeth can also knock a few years off of your appearance!
One way that we can whiten your teeth is with an in-office procedure. This procedure requires only one appointment and about an hour of your time. The procedure begins with cleaning. Next, a lip retractor is placed in your mouth, and a special gel is applied to your gums. The whitening agent is then applied to your teeth, and a light is shone over your mouth. As the whitening agent breaks down, it forms little oxygen bubbles. These bubbles enter into the tooth enamel and bleach away stains. In-office whitening whitens your teeth several shades, and the results are noticeable immediately.
If you would prefer to whiten your teeth at home, we can provide you with whitening trays. These trays are made from impressions of your mouth, which allow us to create a comfortable fit that will provide the best results. You are supplied with the trays, the whitening agent, and instructions. The trays should be worn twice a day for a few hours each time or overnight while you sleep. Treatment typically requires between one and two weeks, depending upon your degree of discoloration. Results are typically noticeable in a few days.
What About Over the Counter Whiteners?
There are several over the counter whiteners available. These whiteners include strips, gels, pens, trays, and more. While you can use these products, they only contain very low levels of bleaching agents. They may be effective for minor surface stains, but they cannot provide the drastic results most patients are looking for.
Is Tooth Whitening Safe?
Tooth whitening is very safe. During in-office whitening, a gel is applied to your gums to protect the tissue from irritation. You are also provided with special glasses to protect your eyes from the light used to help enhance the results. One of the most common issues with whitening trays is tooth sensitivity. This sensitivity is only temporary. If the sensitivity is bothering you, a toothpaste designed for this issue can help to provide relief during your treatment. The sensitivity should dissipate after treatment is complete.
Tooth whitening can restore the natural white color of your teeth, giving you back your brilliant, beautiful smile. For more information, and to find out if teeth whitening is right for you, call Mark A. Coussens, DMD Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today at (503) 567-4121.