One of the most frequent complaints people have about their smile is that it isn’t white enough. Everyday foods and habits can make our teeth look stained or dull, decreasing from the look of our smile. Teeth whitening is a simple, popular option to correct this issue and make your smile dazzle again.
What is Teeth Whitening Like?
Teeth whitening is a simple procedure that’s performed in your dentist’s office. It typically takes about an hour. Your dentist uses special, professional-strength whitening agents, which are applied to the surfaces of your teeth. Since these bleaches can irritate soft tissues, your lips, tongue, and gums are protected with a gel and with a plastic appliance. Some whitening agents must be activated with a special light. The whitener is left on your teeth for about twenty minutes, then removed and replaced. Three applications—which takes about an hour—are sufficient to lighten your teeth from five to ten shades.
As soon as your treatment is over, you’ll see a visible change in the way your teeth look. The full effect of the whitening treatment will take a few days. Be sure to avoid staining agents to keep your teeth looking their best. Whitening treatments last a few months, and you can maintain your new look by returning periodically for touch-ups. If in-office staining doesn’t provide the results you desire, ask your dentist about a professional-strength take-home whitening kit.
What Causes Teeth to Become Stained?
Teeth can be discolored by exposure to various agents that affect the surface of the teeth. This includes:
- Strong-colored foods and beverages
This type of staining is referred to as extrinsic staining, meaning that it affects only the tooth surfaces. Intrinsic staining, by contrast, affects the whole structure of the tooth. This usually occurs because of exposure to certain antibiotics or to excess fluoride while the teeth are developing. Some types of teeth whitening can help with intrinsic staining, but in most cases color can only be restored using cosmetic veneers.
Contact our team to discuss your whitening options!