An attractive smile can be beneficial in social situations, help attract a partner and also make you more confident and outgoing. We are bombarded with pictures of celebrities flashing mega-watt grins, which unfortunately cause many people to feel self-conscious about their own smile.
The enamel covering the teeth can become stained over time for a number of reasons. The fix for this is teeth whitening, which is considered to be one of the easiest and most economical ways of enhancing the appeal of your smile.
Reasons for Tooth Discoloration
Adult teeth can become stained or discolored over time due to:
- Smoking – one of the biggest contributors to yellowed teeth!
- The use of antibiotics as a child/teenager
- Exposure to high levels of fluoride
- Food or drinks that contain tannin such as oranges, carrots, red wine, and coffee
- Trauma to the tooth
- Damage to nerve or blood vessels inside the root canal
- Genetics – the thickness of the enamel covering your teeth is usually determined by genetics. Thinner enamel can often show the color of the dentin beneath it, giving the tooth a darker appearance.
- Aging – our teeth naturally darken as we get older
Can’t I just use an over-the-counter teeth whitener?
We recommend that you at least have the first treatment performed by a dentist who is qualified in providing teeth whitening procedures.
The In-Office Whitening Procedure
Next, your dentist or dental hygienist will give your teeth a thorough cleaning to remove any residue or bacteria that may prevent the whitening process from working properly.
After this, it is time for the whitening to begin.
There are two main types of tooth whitening performed in most offices.
The whitening product is usually a gel that contains a form of hydrogen peroxide and is applied directly on to the surface of the tooth.
Your dentist will then shine a special laser or light onto your teeth, creating a chemical reaction that begins the bleaching.
You can expect a session of vital whitening to take between 30 and 90 minutes. Then depending on the extent of your staining as well as the level of whiteness you wish to achieve, you may require between one and three visits to your dentist’s office.
In non-vital whitening, your dentist will place the whitening agent inside the tooth and cover it with a temporary filling. Again, you may require multiple treatments in order to achieve the extent of whitening that you desire.