Many people desire a whiter, brighter smile. White teeth usually indicate good oral health and can help a person feel more confident.
Teeth can darken due to many factors:
Age – As a person ages the enamel of the tooth, which is the hard, outer shell, gets thinner and the inner (and more yellow) surface of the tooth shows through.
Tobacco use – Tar and nicotine can cause dark stains on the teeth.
Food and drink – Dark drinks are usually the cause of these types of stains. However, some foods can cause stains as well.
Trauma – When a tooth has been traumatized, it can lay down extra dentin (the yellowish inner surface), making the tooth appear darker.
Medications – Several medications or medical treatments can cause tooth staining. The antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline cause staining if taken during tooth development. Some antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, and antipsychotics also cause teeth stains. Chemotherapy and head or neck radiation can darken teeth as well.
How Does Whitening Work?
Two different types of peroxide can be used to whiten your teeth. By making contact with the stained teeth, peroxide breaks up the stain on a molecular level, whitening the teeth.
Does Whitening Work on All Teeth?
Unfortunately, no. If you have existing crowns, bridges, veneers, or fillings, those teeth will not whiten. Only natural tooth structure bleaches. Often, teeth that have had trauma or staining due to medications will not whiten. It is best to consult with your dentist to determine if whitening will work for you.
What Are My Teeth Whitening Options?
Over-the-counter whitening toothpastes can work well for some people if the stains are mild surface stains.
Non-custom bleaching trays (“Opalescence Go”) mold to your teeth due to the temperature in the mouth. These come pre-loaded with whitening gel and are more cost-effective than custom bleaching trays. These trays are available for purchase in our office.
Custom bleaching trays can be made by Dr. Wietholder. These are used with a whitening gel and allows you to bleach at home using a tray customized to your teeth. This minimizes the amount of bleach that leaches out onto the gums and saves the gums from potential harm.
At All American Dental, you can also have your teeth whitened in one hour with a professionally applied bleaching agent. It is applied in 20-minute increments and can be applied up to three times to maximize the results. A protective coating is used to protect the gums before we apply the gel.
What Are Potential Side Effects of Whitening My Teeth?
Depending on the type of whitening option utilized, there are some potential side effects that you should know about:
- Bleaching agents can be harmful to the gums and other areas inside of the mouth. Care should be used to control the gel while it is whitening your teeth.
- Tooth sensitivity can also occur with bleaching.
Please contact us today at All American Dental in Columbia, MO at (573) 449-1918 for your teeth whitening consultation!