Teeth whitening is the most often performed cosmetic dental treatment in the country. It is more affordable than many other cosmetic procedures, and provides a simple yet effective way to give you the white, bright smile that you have always wanted.
Why do teeth become discolored?
Discoloration of your teeth is a natural part of life. The severity of your discoloration can be the result of a number of different factors, including:
- Eating foods high in tannic acid, like grapes and tea
- Drinking coffee
- Smoking cigarettes
- Tooth decay inside your tooth
- Fluorosis, or too much fluoride on your developing teeth
- Taking certain medications
- Wears on your enamel
Cutting back on coffee and quitting smoking are two of the quickest and easiest ways to improve the whiteness of your smile, but for many, it's not quite enough. Having your teeth whitened professionally is a safe way to augment these smile-improving measures.
All About Teeth Whitening
Before you decide to have your teeth whitened, or bleached, you should understand exactly what kind of results you can expect. Teeth whitening will not magically transform your smile, but it will greatly improve the appearance of your teeth and can give you more confidence in your career, your relationships, and your own self-image.
Bleaching only works on your natural teeth. If you are considering any other forms of cosmetic dentistry, such as crowns or cosmetic fillings, wait until after you have your teeth whitened so your new restorations will match the color of your whitened teeth. You may also consider replacing any existing restorations after bleaching.
For the majority of patients, the effects of teeth whitening last for about a year before a touch-up is needed.
What to Expect When You Have Your Teeth Whitened
The most commonly used method of bleaching involves a home bleaching system that we at Healthy Smiles will customize just for you. At your first of two appointments, Dr. Na Xu will create molds of your teeth. These impressions will be used to make custom trays for the teeth bleaching agent you will use. This method is far more effective than the over-the-counter teeth whiteners you can buy at the store, both because the whitening agent is more effective and because the trays that are customized for your teeth provide a more even and exact application of the bleaching agent.
At your next appointment, Dr. Na Xu will make sure that your new custom trays fit comfortably. You will be walked through the whitening process, which usually involves wearing the trays with a whitening agent twice a day or overnight, for several weeks to a month. Your teeth may be more sensitive than usual while you are whitening them, but it should stop within a week after you have finished bleaching your teeth.
Laser teeth whitening is another option, but it is usually more expensive and more complicated than the home whitening method. Laser whitening is best for patients with more severe tooth discoloration.
If you experience tooth pain during the bleaching process, stop whitening your teeth and give us a call right away. We are happy to answer any further questions you may have about the teeth whitening process, and to help you achieve the white and healthy smile that you deserve.