Since teeth whitening has become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, there are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter smile.
Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of enamel, and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are considerably less effective than professional treatments, and may not be approved by the American Dental Association.
With age, the outer layer of enamel wears off, eventually revealing a darker yellow shade. The color of one's teeth also comes from the inside of the tooth, which may become darker over time. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea, and wine may also contribute to discoloration, making the teeth yellow and dull. Sometimes, teeth can become discolored from taking certain medications as a child, such as tetracycline. Excessive fluoridation (fluorosis) may also cause discoloration.
It’s important to have Your teeth evaluated by Your dentist, to determine if Your candidacy for whitening. Tetracycline and fluorosis stains are difficult to remove and your dentist may offer other options, such as veneers or crowns to cover up such stains. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings and crowns before whitening. After bleaching is complete, your dentist can match the new restorations to the shade of whitened teeth.
Since teeth whitening is not permanent, a touch-up may be needed every several years to keep your smile looking bright.
The most popular professional teeth whitening systems:
Home teeth whitening system: At-home products usually come in a gel form that is placed inside a custom-fitted mouthguard, created from a mold of Your teeth. The trays are worn either twice a day for approximately 30 minutes or overnight. It usually takes several weeks to achieve the desired results, depending on the degree of staining.
ZOOM! Whitening: This treatment is performed in the dental office, and You will see immediate results. It may require more than one visit, with each visit lasting 60 to 90 minutes. While Your gums are protected, a bleaching solution will be applied to the surface of Your teeth, and a special light will be used to enhance the action of the whitening agent.
Some patients may experience sensitivity after the procedure. This sensation is temporary and will subside shortly after You complete the bleaching process, usually within a few days.
Teeth whitening can give you a brighter, whiter, more confident smile!