Teeth Whitening 101: All You Need to Know
Our teeth are not naturally white, instead, they have a pearly shade. However, because of factors like age and poor dental hygiene, this shade can darken. While we cannot change the age-related discoloration, you can bleach your teeth and make them white with cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening in Citrus Heights.
What Causes the Teeth to Discolor?
Teeth discoloration can affect the inner and outer layers of the teeth. Several factors can cause the teeth to darken and they include:
- Age. The enamel (outer layer) erodes as we age, causing them to become thin. This eventually exposes the dentin, which is yellow or brown, causing the teeth to appear dark.
- Food and drinks. Certain foods and beverages such as wine, coffee, and tea can cause the enamel to stain as it absorbs some of the components.
- Smoking and chewing tobacco cause the enamel and the gum line to discolor.
- Poor dental hygiene. Not brushing properly can lead to plaque buildup. Plaques are a sticky film which can cause the teeth to turn yellow as it accumulates on the teeth.
- Certain diseases affect the development of the dentin and enamel
- Medication and treatment can also affect the enamel. Treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can cause the enamel to erode and darken.
How is Teeth Whitening Done?
Teeth whitening can be done in two ways—at-home and professionally. These two different options differ when it comes to effectiveness and the process.
- Professional whitening treatment
Professional or in-office teeth whitening is done at the dental office and it lasts for about 45 minutes. The dentist will apply a protective gel on the gums to protect them against bruising. Next, he will apply the whitening agent on the teeth and leave it for 15 minutes, before rinsing. The dentist can use a light to hasten the process and repeat the process three times.
- At-home whitening products
These are readily available and can be found at your local store. Cosmetic whitening products come in various types like toothpaste, mouthwash, and gels. These whitening products are not as effective in bleaching the teeth. This is because they contain about three percent of the whitening agent. Some products can also cause the gums to bruise and the teeth to darken.
Some people also opt for D.I.Y products like baking soda and lemon. While baking soda can remove mild stains, its abrasive nature can wear out the enamel. Lemons, on the other hand, are acidic which can affect teeth by causing sensitivity. Furthermore, it causes the teeth to darken.
It is important to speak to a cosmetic dentist near you before buying the at-home or using the D.I.Y products.
You can get take-home whitening kits that are customized to fit your dental situation to help maintain the whitening results.
Who Can Get the Teeth Whitened Professionally?
Teeth whitening treatment is recommended for adults with healthy teeth and gums. Whitening treatment is not eligible for people who have thin and worn-out enamel, decay and gum infection, and dental restorations. Visit a dentist near you for an assessment if you are eligible for whitening treatment.
Does Teeth Whitening Affect the Enamel?
No, it does not cause the enamel to wear out. However, you may experience tooth sensitivity that lasts for a few hours. The dentist will recommend a tooth-sensitive toothpaste to ease the discomfort.
How Long Will the Whitening Results Last?
Teeth whitening results are not permanent and can last for about a year. This is, however, influenced by your lifestyle habits. You can maintain the results for longer using these tips:
- Avoid or limit your intake of the staining foods and beverages like tea, coffee, and wine. If you do take them, make sure you rinse the mouth immediately to prevent the enamel from absorbing the components.
- Quit smoking to improve your teeth and gum appearance as well as your overall health.
- Maintain proper dental hygiene and visit the dentist regularly for an assessment and professional teeth cleaning to remove plaque buildup
Schedule an Appointment
Visit Sacramento Natural for more information on our teeth whitening treatment and how it is done.