Over 45 million Americans have had tooth whitening procedures making it the most popular dental procedure in America. At Michael Regan, DMD Family, Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry, we can whiten your teeth in a cost-effective way while giving you dramatic results.
Common Reasons for Tooth Discoloration
The color of your teeth is created by a combination of the reflection of light on the enamel and the underlying dentin. When your enamel becomes eroded, the yellow or gray color of your dentin will start to show through more, making your teeth appear dull and discolored. Having smooth or rough enamel can also affect the color of your teeth. In addition, enamel consists of many pores that can retain stains over time. The most common reasons for tooth discoloration are:
Your teeth may also have intrinsic stains which may be due to trauma to the tooth, excess consumption of fluoride as a child, and the use of tetracycline antibiotics by pregnant women or young children.
Types of Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening involves the use of a concentrated solution of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These active agents help to break down stain molecules. There are two main types of teeth whitening:
The most common type of teeth whitening procedure involves applying a bleaching agent directly to the surface of your teeth. This process can take anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes and may require several appointments, depending on the extent and severity of the staining. Mike Regan, DMD will first shield your gums to prevent the bleaching agents from leaking on to them. We will then apply the whitening agent and use a laser light to accelerate the brightening process. With this process, your teeth may become five to eight times lighter in a single session.
Non-vital whitening procedure is performed on teeth that have a root canal treatment. These stains come from the inside and do not respond to regular teeth whitening. In this case, we will place the bleaching agent inside the tooth and cover it up with a temporary filling for the tooth to whiten in a few days. We may repeat this procedure until your tooth has reached the desired shade. In some cases of non-vital whitening, the whitening agent may result in uneven color. In this case, we may recommend an alternative cosmetic treatment for you.
Limitations of Teeth Whitening Procedure
Teeth whitening can help brighten your teeth to a certain extent. However, it cannot change the natural color of your teeth so if your enamel is thin and rough, you may not get the results you expect. In addition, teeth whitening is not a permanent process. Hence, people who smoke or consume darkly-pigmented food may not be good candidates for this treatment since their habits will quickly discolor their teeth again. If you have sensitive teeth or receding gums, we will check whether teeth whitening is a good option for you. Otherwise, we may recommend other cosmetic dental options for you like dental bonding and veneers.
To schedule an appointment with us, call us at 503-654-8283 today.