Everything You Want to Know About Teeth Whitening

October 5, 2017 - 16 minutes read

It is no surprise that with all the perfect smiles on television, billboards, and advertisements, people want a smile that matches up to this perfection. The problem is that this world is also filled with food and drink that can stain teeth and take away that white, gleaming look.

However, this does not mean that having the teeth you desire is impossible. One of the best options you have is teeth whitening, which is available at your local dentist in Dacula. However, before you go and make an appointment at any old dentist, there are some things you should know first.

We will look at who is appropriate for teeth whitening treatment, what your options are, and the benefits of the procedure. First, though, let’s talk about what causes teeth to become discolored in the first place.

What Causes Tooth Staining

Two types of stains are associated with teeth. The first is extrinsic stains. These stains are surface stains on the surface of the tooth. These types of stains may come from eating or drinking staining foods or drinks, like coffee and tea. These stains are easier to remove, with basic brushing doing some amount of good on its own.

The other type of staining and the most substantial type is intrinsic staining. This kind of staining occurs beneath the enamel of the tooth, which means brushing, flossing, and mouthwash do no good whatsoever.

The good thing is that your Dacula dentist can help you with both types of staining through a tooth whitening procedure. We are going to go over some other things that can cause staining before we look at what the process entails.

  • Silver fillings in the teeth
  • Taking tetracycline as a child under the age of ten
  • Genetics, which determine how white your teeth are naturally
  • The use of too much fluoride
  • An impact injury that involves the tooth
  • Amelogenesis Imperfecta (AI), a rare disorder that makes teeth appear yellow or brown

Candidacy for Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening is ideal for nearly anyone and is a method that is mostly non-aggressive and can provide you with a more white and pleasant smile. Whitening lightens the shade of the tooth as it removes the stains. This is especially perfect for someone who is self-conscious about their teeth or smile. That said, treatment will not work the same for every single person.

If you are an individual who drinks a lot of coffee, smokes, or has stains from dietary choices, you will likely find the most benefits from the process. These stains are brown or yellow or a combination of the two. Thankfully, these are easy stains to remove. The problem is that if you continue smoking or drinking coffee, the expected results may not happen.

For those who do not want to stop consuming coffee or tea, or don’t want to quit smoking, there is an option. Your dentist can provide you with a desensitizing gel that will seal your teeth after you whiten, blocking the pores from additional stains.

If you have intrinsic stains, the procedure may take longer than it does for those with solely extrinsic stains. The reason for this is intrinsic stains are in the dentin below the enamel. Also, these stains are often gray or brownish gray. Gray is one of the hardest colors of stains to remove, so it requires some patience to get the results you desire.

Who Should Avoid Teeth Whitening

While tooth whitening done by a cosmetic dentist is safe for most people, there are some for whom it would not be the best option. These include individuals who have periodontal disease, chronic teeth sensitivity, oral cancer, or severely damaged enamel. Whitening teeth that are translucent further is also not a good idea. Many dentists will also recommend that any gum problems or cavities are cleared up before treatment can start.

Cosmetic Dentist Whitening Procedure

You will first visit your dentist in Dacula to consider your options with regards to tooth whitening. Assuming the dentist believes tooth whitening is a good choice, the cosmetic dentist will take an impression of your teeth, as a first step. This ensures that the tooth trays that are given to you will perfectly fit your mouth during the process of whitening. At that time, you will make a subsequent appointment with your tooth whitening specialist.

At your second appointment, your dentist in Dacula will hand over the custom trays that you will use for whitening. They will also at this time provide you with a special bleaching agent which goes into the clear trays that are molded to fit your teeth.

In most cases, your tooth whitening specialist will have you wear the trays for a few hours a day, which allows the special whitening agent to start removing stains on and below your enamel. This product will not cause any problems with your already existing dental work. The treatment will continue until your teeth are the hue that you want them to be. Following that, you will only need occasional treatment to keep the color where you want it.

Various Types of Whitening

The whitening we have discussed so far is the typical type that a professional dentist does, but there are other options you may want to consider. One is done at home, while another is done entirely in a dentist’s office.

Whitening Trays

This is the type of whitening we have already discussed, which involves using custom-made trays that your Dacula dentist provides to you. You will squeeze a whitening agent into the trays and then place them into your mouth. This is a cost-effective method to get the teeth you want without spending a bundle.

Whitening toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste is different from the other methods available because it does not actually whiten your teeth. This toothpaste can lighten your teeth of superficial, extrinsic stains, but it will not be capable of getting inside the tooth to remove internal stains. Do keep in mind that this toothpaste is more abrasive than other toothpaste so it should not be used every day.

UV whitening

A dentist will do this type of whitening over a number of sessions that may last about an hour. The dentist will apply peroxide to your teeth and then use UV light to accelerate the process of whitening. This can be a good option if you need your teeth whitened quickly, but it does tend to be expensive.

How Cosmetic Dentistry Whitening Agents Work

The bleaching agents that your Dacula dentist will give you contain an oxidizing agent, usually carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. This is the active ingredient in the mixture in the gel that goes into your mouth trays. This gel substance will react with the inside of your tooth and break apart stains that normally would not be reached.

Facts About Whitening Teeth

We have covered the basics, but there are often more questions that need to be answered. Because of that, we have compiled some facts that will give you extra information that can help you determine if having your teeth whitened is the best option for you.

  • Concerns about whether teeth whitening will damage an individual’s teeth are common. The good news is that you have absolutely nothing to worry about. While something as small as brushing your teeth too vigorously can cause tooth damage, whitening will not cause issues if done properly. The dentist will give you a gel that works to open your teeth’s pores, which makes lifting stains easy. Afterward, your teeth will remineralize and rehydrate themselves.
  • As we just mentioned, teeth have pores just like your skin does. Food and drink with color will be absorbed into those pores, which is how extrinsic staining happens. The most commonly used or consumed items that cause major staining are dark berries, wine, coffee, and cigarettes. Eating or using these over time will cause your teeth to darken. Teeth whitening gel works by getting down into the pores and pushing the stains out, little by little.
  • Custom fitted teeth whitening trays may cost upwards of $400 or $500. The reason they are expensive is that they are custom made for your mouth, and often can last a lifetime. You likely want the best possible trays in order to get the best possible results, so the cost may be worth it for most people. There’s no better way to get a radiant smile, after all.
  • Most teeth whitening products use the same ingredients, which makes them all but identical. However, the trays that hold the whitening agent can vary regarding quality and reliability. A custom fitting tray ensures that every surface of your tooth receives gel, so every tooth whitens at the same rate as the others. This makes inconsistencies much less likely as your teeth whiten at the same time.
  • Sensitivity is common after a round of teeth whitening. This is exacerbated by the fact that nearly 60% of Americans already have sensitive teeth. This is often due to thin enamel, damaged teeth, or simple genetics. The teeth that are whitened by a dentist in Dacula will experience dehydration following treatment. This can make it harder for the teeth to insulate nerves from temperature changes. That leads to more sensitivity, but this usually only lasts about a day after whitening. A fluoride treatment after whitening can help to promote rehydration.
  • UV light teeth whitening is regulated by the FDA and should only be undertaken with the supervision of a dentist. This treatment can whiten teeth more quickly, but it is not a great option for anyone who has sensitive teeth. Also, the results may be temporary and will still require maintenance. This type of whitening is also more time-consuming and expensive than traditional whitening.
  • Some companies sell blue LED lights that are marketed as whitening teeth in a quicker manner. However, this is not true; only an ultraviolet light frequency can do this. The blue may look impressive and modern, but the actual tooth whitening will be just the same as with any other whitener so don’t bother paying more for the light.
  • Despite what anyone tries to tell you, tooth stains are not something that goes away in a night. The whitening agent is not capable of penetrating the tooth so quickly, as it would not be safe. The actual process of whitening takes anywhere from a few days up into a number of months, depending on how extensive the staining is. Once the teeth are at the hue you want though, maintenance is straightforward.
  • If you have caps or veneers on your teeth, there is a downside when it comes to teeth whitening. When you get a cap or veneer, it is made to match the teeth around it, and that color cannot change. So while you can whiten the teeth, the caps or veneers will no longer match. Teeth whitening will not cause any damage to your existing dental hardware.
  • The best time to whiten your teeth is right before going to bed. This is because when you whiten your teeth, the pores are enlarged to pull out the stains. They remain that way for some time, which means that restaining can occur more quickly. In addition, when you whiten before bed, your teeth can rehydrate during the night and be ready the next day.

There are many options for tooth whitening, but a custom tray is often the most cost-effective and easiest way to go about it. It does the job as well as anything else, has specialized items to work with your particular mouth, and is very little trouble.

Contact our Dacula Dentist Office for Teeth Whitening Services

If you are in Dacula and interested in teeth whitening, we would love to be a part of your process. At Kurz Family Dentistry, we can set you up with an appointment or just answer any further questions you have. Give us a call at 770-904-6088 or feel free to fill out our online contact form.