One of the best ways to get rid of stains is professional teeth whitening. Learning what causes tooth discoloration can also help prevent issues with stains and discoloration in the future so you can take better care of your oral health and ensure your beautiful new smile lasts.
Teeth whitening has become very popular over the last few years, and the technology in making the bleach that whitens teeth has become more advanced as well. At Dr. Curry’s dental office, we use the latest in bleaching systems, which incorporates fluoride and potassium nitrate (the active ingredient in sensitive relief toothpaste) into the bleach, which in turn leaves the patient with little to no sensitivity after bleaching.
Tooth Discoloration Causes
- Beverages. Many types of dark-colored drinks contain chromogens, a type of chemical. Chromogens can stain the enamel of the teeth over time, causing the discoloration to become permanent if left untreated. Drinks that contain artificial colors and dyes can also cause discoloration.
- Tobacco Use. Tobacco contains particles that can penetrate the microscopic pores in the enamel. Over time, these particles will continue to build up, resulting in discoloration. Chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes or cigars can stain the teeth and can become difficult to use the longer a person delays treatment.
- Tartar. The bacteria inside the human mouth mixes with saliva and food particles to create plaque, a sticky, translucent film. Proper brushing and flossing can prevent plaque. Poor oral care can result in plaque that hardens over time and creates tartar, a permanent coating.
Other causes of tooth discoloration can be caused by:
- Enamel hypoplasia.
- Antibiotics such as tetracycline.
Benefits of Teeth Whitening
Regardless of the cause of staining, teeth whitening can significantly reduce the appearance of stains and discoloration.
There are many teeth whitening benefits, including:
- Whiter teeth can shave years off a person’s face, especially since smiling can naturally make a person look younger. With whiter, vibrant teeth, a person will have more confidence and smile more often
- When you seek teeth whitening treatment, you don’t have to worry about preparing your teeth, unlike when you go in for veneer or crown treatments. These treatments can provide a whiter smile, but they’re not necessary for teeth that are in good condition. Just because teeth are stained does not mean they aren’t healthy.
- Teeth whitening is also a more affordable option than crowns and veneers and consists of a much faster process.
- If you don’t have much time to dedicate to ongoing dental appointments, you’ll be happy to learn that a tooth whitening session in-office is under an hour. Professionally whitened teeth tend to offer longer-lasting, faster results.
- After a teeth whitening treatment, there’s little maintenance involved. Using maintenance kits, you can touch up and freshen up your teeth, without the need for ongoing dental appointments.
Dr. Curry has over 10 years of experience helping your friends and neighbors improve their smile. If you’d like to brighten your smile, talk with his experienced staff about scheduling a free consultation with him today. At that appointment, he will help you understand what type of results you could expect. Many patients see up to 6 shades whiter in a single visit.
In-Office vs. Home Whitening Systems
There are countless home teeth whitening products available these days including gels, strips, toothpaste, and home whitening kits. However, while these products may claim to consist of an extra strength formula, most are only able to whiten your teeth a shade or two.
In-office whitening treatments available from your dentist provide a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide over a short period of time. Over-the-counter whitening products contain less-effective, lower concentrations of carbamide peroxide chemicals that are used over the course of weeks. This means the over-the-counter treatments are not as strong as in-office treatments and can take significantly longer to see mediocre results.
Over-the-counter Whitening Kits
- More affordable
- Easy to use
- Weaker formula
- Can only lighten teeth by 1-2 shades
- Results do not last long
In-Office Professional Whitening
- Long-lasting results
- Fast results
- Can whiten the teeth up to eight shade
- You must schedule an appointment and make time for treatment
- Teeth whitening typically is not covered under dental insurance plans
How Treatment Works – What to Expect
At Dr. Curry’s office, we offer a couple of choices to whiten your teeth:
The first and least expensive option is custom-made whitening trays or “take-home trays”. With this procedure, we would need just 10-15 minutes of your time to take upper and lower impressions of your teeth. After that, our staff will pour the impressions, and by using a vacuum matrix machine, create a custom set of upper and lower trays that fit your mouth perfectly. A day later we give you bleach gel that you place into the trays and then insert the trays into your mouth for 60-90 minutes at home. You should notice a difference in the shade of your teeth after the second or third session. Use this as much as you like, and if more bleach refills are needed they are available at our dental office.
Another option for whitening, which is the most popular, is in-office whitening. We use two types of in-office whitening systems:
- Zoom 2
- Venus White
With these systems, you come in for teeth whitening in the office and a more concentrated type of bleach is placed on the teeth in three, 12 to 15-minute sessions. Before starting we isolate your gums and lips so that they are out of the way, and only your teeth are showing. A bite block is placed to relax your jaw, and bleach is placed on the teeth. This can produce great results! Also included in the price of our in-office whitening is your own set of custom whitening trays and take-home bleach, that way you can maintain the whitening you received during the in-office procedure.
After Your Teeth Whitening Appointment
If you’ve had your teeth whitened by Dr. Curry, you’ll have many more reasons to smile. A vibrant smile will increase your self-confidence and instantly shave years off your face. However, teeth whitening results can be short-lived if you end up returning to the habits that caused stains in the first place.
Below are some tips that can help you maintain your new, vibrant, brighter smile:
- Avoid foods and beverages that can stain your teeth. This includes red wine, tea, and coffee. If you can’t avoid these beverages, consider using a straw. You can also brush your teeth after each meal.
- Follow good oral hygiene habits, brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day. Using teeth whitening toothpaste twice a week can also help, however, you should use regular toothpaste for the rest of the week.
- Avoid any habits that can damage your teeth. Smoking is not only bad for your health but the tar and nicotine in tobacco can also cause stains that are difficult to remove.
- Schedule regular cleanings with Dr. Curry at least twice a year. Your visit will include a professional cleaning to remove any plaque from areas that regular flossing and brushing cannot reach. Dr. Curry will also check for any trouble spots to prevent small issues from turning into big ones.
Professional cleanings can remove years of discoloration and brighten your smile. By establishing good oral hygiene habits, avoiding foods and beverages that can discolor your teeth, and giving up tobacco use, you can maintain your vibrant smile longer. To learn more about the teeth whitening options we offer, contact our office today.
Common Questions Our Patients Have About Teeth Whitening
Is teeth whitening painful?
Is teeth whitening covered by insurance?
How white will my teeth get?
Schedule Your Family's Dentist Appointment in Birmingham
Whether we are in your network or not, we will work with your insurance company to get you the best coverage possible. Schedule an appointment with our Birmingham family dental practice today for quality care!