About Teeth Whitening
What causes tooth discoloration?
You may know that teeth can become discolored as a result of certain types of foods and beverages, like coffee and tea. Beyond that general explanation, we can describe tooth discoloration as a blocking of light. Teeth look bright and white because of the way that light reflects off of the outer layer of enamel. This outer layer of tooth matter is porous, it has tiny holes. Microscopic particles of food and drinks permeate the pores in enamel and can settle. Over time, the accumulation of particles starts to block the refraction of light. This first makes the smile look dull, then yellow. Professional teeth cleaning can polish away some of the debris that collects on teeth, but teeth whitening is needed to break apart the particles that have settled in pores.
In-Office Professional Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening, also called chairside bleaching, takes place during a series of appointments at a dentist’s office. Advantages of in-office teeth whitening over take-home whitening include:
- Professional supervision
- Safe and simple
- No sensitivity
What is the benefit of having in-office teeth whitening?
The primary benefit of chairside bleaching is that your dentist does all the work. An in-office treatment can eliminate any guesswork and messiness. We apply the whitening gel. We administer the light that activates the whitening gel. You sit back and relax while your smile gets a makeover in radiance. The appointment typically takes about an hour, and the process achieves noticeable results in that one sitting. Patients with more profound staining may schedule a second session to reach their desired level of brightness.
"Dr. Mahal and her team are top notch! They have the latest technology and equipment making the experience that much better. Dr. Mahal is genuine and cares for her patients. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else."- MF
Can teeth whitening damage teeth?
Teeth whitening utilizes a controlled amount of hydrogen peroxide to maintain safety and efficacy. The risk of damage to teeth is very low and associated primarily with too much whitening. This is why it is advantageous to have your dentist oversee your whitening process, whether you have us do the work through an office treatment or you use a professional home whitening system. A thorough dental exam can ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy and unlikely to become irritated by the peroxide gel. A dentist can also discuss how often whitening touch-ups can be performed without posing a risk to teeth or gum tissue.
How long do teeth whitening results last?
After teeth whitening treatment, you can enjoy results that last a year or much longer. The speed at which discoloration recurs, because it inevitably does, is up to you. Good oral care habits that include brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing us twice a year for professional cleaning, are all integral to maintaining a radiant smile after teeth whitening. What you eat and drink, and whether or not you smoke, will also contribute to the longevity of your teeth whitening results.
What foods should I avoid after teeth whitening?
You need not cut foods and beverages out of your life to maintain your best smile. It's more a matter of habits. If you love your morning cup of coffee, enjoy it! After you finish, though, rinse your mouth with water, making sure to swish water across the front teeth. This habit alone can go a long way toward prolonging your teeth whitening results. If you drink soda or iced tea, try to use a straw more often than not. Doing so passes the colored beverage past your teeth and can reduce the staining effects.
Take-Home Teeth Whitening Products
Take-home bleaching solutions can help improve the color and overall brightness of teeth. These kits are simpler and less expensive than, and can be just as effective as, in-office treatments. Dentists provide patients with customized impression trays, whitening powder and whitening gel, the use of which improves the appearance of teeth over just a few days.
Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening Products
Various over-the-counter products, such as whitening toothpastes and bleaching strips, are advertised as being effective teeth-whiteners. However, although based on the same science as professional bleaching, the concentration of effective ingredients tends to be much lower, lengthening treatment time and often not providing the level of whitening desired.
Whitening procedures are effective but not permanent. Depending on the procedure used, whitening may fade over time. Patients are advised to avoid food and drinks that may stain or darken teeth.