One type of cosmetic dentistry used to restore the color of teeth is whitening. But exactly what is tooth whitening and does it work? If so, how is it done and will any over-the-counter toothpaste do the same? Well, as you might imagine, tooth whitening is done by an experienced dentist and it does work quite well. However, any off-the-shelf toothpaste won’t do the trick. This is more marketing than anything, although regular brushing and flossing do much to keep your teeth looking healthy.
What is Tooth Whitening?
Tooth whitening is a procedure which is done to correct certain problems. Typically, it’s to effectively treat stained or discolored teeth. Every day, your teeth are subjected to a number of things, from food and drink, to brushing and flossing, to bad habits, like grinding. And, each day, a thin layer forms on your teeth enamel which is known as “pellicle.”
Brushing and flossing are everyday ways to keep your teeth bright, white and healthy. Still, if you might feel like your smile is lacking some sparkle or is more yellow than it used to be, you’re not alone. When the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked people what they’d most like to improve about their smile, the most common response was whiter teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists also found that nearly 90% of patients requested tooth whitening. — American Dental Association
That same thin coating essentially acts as an adhesive, which causes stains to collect on your teeth. (Even if the pellicle did not form, the enamel is porous, so stains can still accumulate.) Over time, this causes more discoloration. Stains come from many sources. But mostly, they are caused by coffee, tobacco, soft drinks, tea, red wine, and from not maintaining good oral hygiene.
To remove these types of stains and restore a natural look to your teeth, you might consider tooth whitening. This is a procedure which is done by a dentist but it’s not for all cases. For instance, if you have ceramic or porcelain crowns or veneers, whitening simply will not be an option because it won’t work.
There are two types of whitening and you’ll have to discuss which is right for you with your dentist. There is vital whitening and non-vital whitening. Vital whitening is done by using a special gel which is applied directly to the teeth. It typically contains some level of hydrogen peroxide. And, it can be done in the dentist’s office or at home.
Depending on the condition of your teeth, this method of vital whitening can take up to three in-office sessions or more, lasting between 30 and 90 minutes each.
Non-vital whitening differs because the dentist actually whitens from the inside of your teeth to the outside. Your dentist will put a whitening agent inside your teeth and then cover it with a temporary filling. After a set amount of days, the procedure might need to be repeated to achieve the desired results.
The type of tooth whitening which will end with the best results really depends on what’s causing stains to appear. Ultimately, your tooth whitening procedure will be chosen based on your particular set of circumstances.
If you undergo any type of tooth whitening, you need to constantly monitor your teeth and mouth for any changes. For instance, if you feel gum soreness, it’s best to tell your dentist right away.
Although not a permanent solution, tooth whitening can remove stains and give you a great looking smile.
At Bowen Family Dentistry, you will find trusted dental care and our friendly team of Manhattan cosmetic dental professionals. Our menu of services includes: dental implants, porcelain veneers, and Invisalign. Contact Manhattan KS Dentist, Bowen Family Dentistry today at (785) 789-4468 to schedule an informative consultation.