Tooth Whitening

How can I make my teeth whiter?
twWe find that many of our patients are displeased with the color of their teeth. While enamel is the strongest substance in our body, it is porous and can stain. Culprits include (but are not limited to) coffee, tea, cranberry juice, red wine, soda, berries, soy sauce and smoking. Trauma to the teeth, tetracycline, nerve degeneration or simple aging can change the color of teeth.

Whitening toothpastes are effective surface stain removers but they won’t brighten your teeth. Some contain titanium dioxide, a white pigment in paint, giving a temporary appearance of lightening. They also consist of abrasives and may wear down enamel and expose yellow dentin, the vital tooth structure that lies beneath the enamel. With long-term usage, this may actually then give the appearance of yellowing teeth.

Bleaching whitens teeth by placing a bleaching solution on the enamel to remove deep stains. If you have natural teeth and are pleased with their shape and position, bleaching may be your best option. The results are not permanent and depending on your diet and lifestyle habits touch ups may be needed anywhere from 2-5 years. If you want to make a permanent change to the shape, position or color of your teeth, porcelain veneers are ideal. If you have existing crowns that need to be whiter, you can upgrade to whiter, all-porcelain crowns. If you have bonding or tooth color fillings you may need to change them once you have completed bleaching.

How white should I make my teeth?
As we get older, our teeth pick up stains and become discolored. Many people are choosing shades that are whiter than in the past. A true sign that someone has undergone some form of cosmetic dentistry is when you see very opaque white teeth. In our office, we strive to give you the look you want without looking “done”. You will attain a beautiful white esthetic outcome, but it will look real and complementary to your face. We feel it is important to gain a sense of realism with every improvement and not artificiality.

How can I prevent discoloration?
Have professional cleanings at the recommended time interval (every 3 to 6 months) Drink beverages with high stain potential through a straw Avoid abrasive toothpastes, which can wear down enamel and expose yellow dentin below it Brush immediately after eating or drinking foods with a high stain potential If you aren’t able to brush right away, rinse with lots of water or eat something crunchy like fruits or vegetables that will clean teeth naturally.

Which bleaching method is the most effective?
Our experience has proven that a combination of in-office supercharged laser bleaching along with take home bleaching trays to be the most effective method. We start with the in-office power bleaching for a quick change to the appearance and luster of the teeth. The longer the teeth are exposed to the power bleaching, the more dramatic the results.

Will bleaching harm my teeth? Is it safe?
Studies have shown that bleaching causes no harm to teeth when used under direct dental supervision. Some people experience temporary sensitivity during the bleaching process, which will subside typically from anywhere between a few hours, up to 48 hours later. Normally, people do not experience any long-term side effects. As with any cosmetic procedure, patients need to exercise judgment in how they go about whitening their teeth. Patients should avoid over the counter alternatives since they use trays that are not individually fitted and as a result are ill-fitting, increasing the risk of burning gum tissue. These trays may also cause bite problems.