Over time, many people notice their teeth begin to change color and are no longer as white and bright as they used to be.
If this has happened to you, it might make you lose confidence in your smile, and become conscious about the look, health, and feel of your teeth.
Fortunately, there are many treatments and teeth whitening solutions available to brighten your smile.
At Singing River Dentistry, our professionals here in Madison, AL want to help improve the look and feel of your teeth and are here to help with all of your questions and treatment options.
Why Do My Teeth Change Color?
Very few people have naturally white teeth, and even so, teeth are prone to staining over time and as aging progresses. There are many reasons why your teeth might change color. These reasons range from lifestyle preferences to age.
Other than time, routine choices are usually the main culprit for the brightness in your teeth fading. Certain types of food, drink, or substances are able to stain your teeth. If you regularly consume drinks like coffee and red wine or use tobacco, then your teeth might lose their whiteness over time if not taken care of properly.
The buildup of plaque, tartar, and calculus can yellow teeth. Certain medications are also a common cause of discoloration in teeth and tiny cracks and pits that may form on tooth surfaces. Teeth whitening at the dentist is commonly recommended to get excellent results without harming your tooth enamel compared to at-home whitening kits.
What Is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening, in the most general terms, is a process that uses a specialized type of peroxide teeth whitening solution that will break down the stains in your teeth into smaller pieces.
While it doesn't get rid of the stain completely, it breaks up the concentration of those stains which makes the color of your teeth appear brighter and whiter. It is a cosmetic improvement to your teeth that will reveal a whiter smile.
What Can Teeth Whitening Fix?
This process of teeth whitening can only brighten your teeth to their natural color.
The brightness of your teeth is determined by two things: the thickness of the enamel on your teeth; and how yellow the dentin (the bony tissue) is below your enamel.
Teeth whitening treatments are only able to reduce the staining on your tooth enamel. They cannot penetrate below to fix the discoloration caused by the dentine of your teeth.
The Different Types of Whitening Treatments
There are numerous ways to whiten your teeth, however, all of those ways can be broken into two categories: in the office; or at home.
Your personal goals and ideals for your smile along with the current state of health of your teeth will determine which treatment is right for you.
At home products will have a lower percentage of the teeth whitening peroxide solution and therefore will not be as effective as in-office treatments.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening occurs in the dental office after the dentist has crafted a proper treatment plan. The process is quicker, and the results are better than home whitening procedures as dental bleaches have a higher concentration of peroxides - which are the bleaching agents.
After conducting a prophylaxis cleaning, the dentist places rubber shields, or creams on the gums to protect them from bleach and begins the procedure, applying bleaching gels at intervals of 20 minutes for an hour.
The treatment could continue at home as the dentist may have custom-made mouth guards to aid in further whitening using prescribed whitening gels. Dentists may decide to use a blue laser beam to hasten the whitening process and achieve better results.
Teeth whitening effects can last up to three years, but they solely rely on the care and consistency of oral hygiene. Certain lifestyle habits like smoking, and eating or drinking dark pigmented items such as wine and coffee also stain teeth faster.
After the whitening procedure, you are more susceptible to sensitivity of extreme temperatures, such as hot and cold. Discomfort in the gums or a sore throat may also occur. These complications ease over time, and any persistence should be reported back to the dentist for management.
At-Home Whitening Treatments
Home whitening products, including powders and toothpaste, also help whiten teeth, though not as effectively as professional dental whitening. They might leave some areas whiter than others, mainly the front teeth surfaces.
They are usually considered safe because the amount of bleach in them is relatively low and cannot destroy the enamel. Whitening rinses are the newest whitening product. Additionally, they help maintain fresh breath and reduce bacteria and plaque.
Whitening trays custom-fitted in the dental office help achieve long-term whitening effects, especially after professional bleaching.
It is a take home kit consisting of whitening gels and a custom-fit teeth tray that helps keep the gel in contact with the teeth and prevent saliva from mixing with the creams.
How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?
Teeth whitening treatments aren't permanent solutions to creating a brighter, whiter smile.
How long the treatment lasts depends largely on your lifestyle. If you continue to regularly consume foods and drinks that stain your teeth, the treatment will begin to fade faster than from those that avoid these foods and drinks.
Regardless of your lifestyle, the whitening treatment will need a touch-up, whether that is after just a few months or if it is an annual touch-up.
Schedule a Teeth Whitening Appointment With Your Dentist in Madison, AL Today!
If you have ever thought about whitening your teeth, or are looking for strategies to brighten your smile call our team Singing River Dentistry at 256-562-4001 today. Our professionals are here to provide the most effective treatments for your smile.