Having stained and discolored teeth can arise from a variety of factors, such as diet, trauma—and even your favorite morning drink, coffee. Unsightly stains on your teeth can negatively impact your confidence, and wanting to have a bright and white smile is quite understandable.
While it may be tempting to run out and buy a tube of tooth whitening gel at your nearest big-box store, we here at Summercrest Dental strongly advise against it, as your results can be iffy at best. Instead, we recommend that you come in for a safe and effective tooth whitening procedure at our office. Teeth Whitening is one of several cosmetic dental procedures that we are proud to offer our patients.
What Do I Need to Know about Tooth Whitening?
The color of your teeth is mostly determined at childbirth, not unlike your eye color or your hair color. As you age, however, your enamel can grow thinner, and your dentin (the inner part of your tooth) can start to yellow. Other major causes of stained, discolored teeth can include smoking, coffee, red wine, and certain foods. Some types of antibiotics, such as tetracyclines, can stain your teeth. Trauma to your tooth, such as hitting it, can also damage it and cause it to become discolored.
Over-the-counter tooth whitening kits are full of promises of a brighter smile, but we do not recommend them. The ingredients in them may not be safe and may cause lasting harm to your teeth and gums. Your teeth may become worse after using an at-home kit, with spots of discoloration marring their appearance. Furthermore, you may sustain lasting pain and sensitivity with an over-the-counter kit.
To avoid these complications, we recommend that you instead elect to have your teeth whitened in our office. Not only is it safe, but it is also quite comfortable, and your results will be vastly superior. During your in-office tooth whitening, we will start with a consultation and a cleaning to remove all surface stains and to make sure your teeth are healthy enough to be whitened. If you have any tooth decay, we will address and treat it first.
How Does Professional Teeth Whitening Work?
During your appointment, we will place a layer of whitening gel over your teeth. This gel, which is made up of a combination of hydrogen peroxide and other ingredients, is much stronger than the gel you may find in at-home kits. We may use a combination of special lights or lasers to increase the effectiveness of the gel. We may also make custom trays for you to hold the gel and make it work better. Depending on how stained your teeth are, your appointment may span over several appointments (anywhere between one and three can be expected) and last anywhere between a half hour to ninety minutes. You may also be sent home with trays to continue your whitening at home.
Some tooth sensitivity is to be expected after your tooth whitening procedure. If you find that you are experiencing any discomfort, you can take a mild over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Avoid foods and drinks that can be irritating, such as overly cold beverages or foods like ice cream. Your results will be long-lasting, but understand that they are not permanent. If you continue to expose your teeth to foods or other things that can stain them, the discoloration will return.
You deserve to have a bright, white smile. If you are struggling with stained or discolored teeth and want to have them whitened, or to learn more about this procedure, please give us here at Summercrest Dental a call today at (503) 567-8827 to schedule an appointment!