Wouldn’t you like to have a whiter and brighter smile?
Teeth whitening, often called bleaching, is the process of applying an external solution to the teeth to make the outer enamel of the teeth whiter and brighter. Virtually everyone who opts for this cosmetic treatment will see substantial improvement in the brightness and whiteness of their smile. At Groton Wellness we have a number of teeth whitening methods to help you. Let us explain the details.
Tooth Discoloration: The Two Types Stains
Teeth become discolored for different reasons. There are two categories of staining as it relates to the teeth: extrinsic staining and intrinsic staining.
- Extrinsic stains are those that appear on the surface of the teeth as a result of exposure to dark-colored beverages, foods and tobacco, and routine wear and tear. Superficial extrinsic stains are minor and can be removed with brushing and prophylactic dental cleaning. Stubborn extrinsic stains can be removed with more involved efforts, like teeth whitening. Persistent extrinsic stains can penetrate into the dentin and become ingrained if they are not dealt with early.?
- Intrinsic stains are those that form on the interior of teeth. Intrinsic stains can result from trauma, aging, exposure to medications (like tetracycline) during tooth formation and/or excessive ingestion of fluoride. In the past it was thought that intrinsic stains were too resistant to be corrected by bleaching. Today, cosmetic dentistry experts believe that even deep-set intrinsic stains can be improved with supervised take-home tooth whitening that is maintained over a matter of months or even a year.
What Causes Tooth Staining?
- Age: There is a direct correlation between tooth color and age. Over the years, teeth darken as a result of stain accumulation and as a result of wear and tear on the enamel. It thins and allows the yellower dentin to show through.?
- Starting color: We all start with an inborn tooth color that ranges from yellow-brownish to greenish-grey. This color intensifies over time, especially as the enamel wears and becomes thinner.?
- Eating habits: The habitual consumption of red wine, coffee, tea, cola, blue berries and other deeply colored beverages and foods causes considerable staining over the years. In addition, acidic foods such as citrus fruits and vinegar contribute to enamel erosion. As a result, the surface becomes more transparent and yet again more of the yellow-colored dentin shows through.?
- Smoking habits: Nicotine leaves brownish deposits which slowly soak into the tooth structure and cause intrinsic discoloration.?
- Drugs / chemicals: Tetracycline used during tooth formation produces dark grey or brown ribbon stains which are very difficult to remove. Excessive consumption of fluoride causes fluorosis Need Link and associated areas of white mottling.?
- Grinding: Most frequently caused by stress, teeth grinding (gnashing, bruxing, etc.) can add to micro-cracking in the teeth and can cause the biting edges to darken and the cracks to stain.?
- Trauma: If a tooth has been injured in an accident, sometimes the nerve will gradually “die” and the tooth will become dark.
So how can I have whiter teeth? Is it safe?
The active ingredient in the whitening solutions is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The solutions have proven to be very effective and compatible, even with people who have chemical sensitivities.
Non-mint bleaching formulations are available for patients using homeopathics.
Should I Whiten My Teeth?
Our dentists can evaluate your teeth and smile to determine whether whitening will work for you. For some patients a different cosmetic procedure may better meet your expectations, but in most cases whitening is a safe, fast and easy process that is effective for almost everyone!
You can choose in-office whitening for immediate results, or you can choose self-directed at-home whitening.
What Is In-Office Whitening?
For In-Office whitening we utilize the advanced “Opalescence Xtra Boost” system. The whitening is accomplished in a single session with no heat and no light activation necessary. You can also choose to include in the fee for the In-Office whitening, a set of home whitening trays so you can maintain your brightest smile on an ongoing basis.
What Is The At-Home Whitening Process?
We will first determine your current tooth shade. Then we will make an impression of your teeth in order to create custom fitted trays for you. We will teach you how to use your custom trays to apply the whitening gel. The trays are so clear and comfortable that most patients find that they can wear them at any time of the day. The at-home whitening process usually takes 2-6 weeks, but most patients will see results after the first treatment. The trays can then be re-used at self-directed intervals to maintain the whitening effect for years to come.
How fast does whitening work?
Most patients see a difference in the whiteness and brightness after only one application, and continue the applications for several weeks to achieve optimal results. The amount of time it takes for you will be determined by how stained and discolored your teeth were when you started and how frequently you apply the whitening solution.
How Long Will My Teeth Stay White?
The results typically last for many years, but it depends on your habits. If you are a smoker or you are eating many dark colored, staining foods or drinking beverages that restain your teeth, you will need to periodically “touch-up” the whitening with another application of the solution.
Are There Any Side Effects?
At most, some patients experience mild sensitivity in their teeth or gums after the treatments. At Groton Wellness, we recommend brushing with a toothpaste for sensitive teeth prior to application of the whitening gel, and immediately after you remove the custom trays. This has proven to enormously decrease the sensitivity felt by our patients!