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If you're thinking about improving your smile, you should consider tooth whitening. This highly popular dental procedure brightens teeth, removing discoloration and stains to enhance your smile's appearance. Whitening procedures have improved over the years providing whiter teeth with less sensitivity and no detrimental effects to the tooth's enamel. And periodic maintenance has never been easier with both in-office and at-home options.
The tooth's outer layer is called the enamel. Underneath the enamel is tissue known as dentin which tends to be yellowish in color. The color of your teeth is determined by how much light penetrates through the enamel and reflects off the dentin which is yellow. Your genes will determine how thick and smooth your enamel is. If enamel is thin, more of the dentin's color will show.
Causes of Stains on Teeth
Stains and discoloration of teeth are most often caused by tobacco usage, neglecting oral care, and frequent consumption of dark-colored liquids like coffee, tea, red wine, and cola. As you age, the enamel on your teeth thins out and the dentin darkens, making the teeth appear less bright and aged.
Extrinsic and Intrinsic Stains
The two types of stains that can appear on your teeth are extrinsic stains and intrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains are stains that appear on the tooth's surface, while intrinsic stains occur within the tooth. Extrinsic stains respond best to tooth whitening techniques.
Intrinsic stains have multiple causes, including trauma and tetracycline antibiotics. Trauma over time can cause teeth to gray, while teracycline can stain a child's teeth if a mother takes them during the second half of her pregnancy or if the child takes them before age 8. If a child's fluoride intake is too high when their teeth are developing, they can also get intrinsic stains.
Certain conditions can impede the whitening process, so we must treat them before we begin.
||If you have cavities, the whitening solution can penetrate the decayed sections and get to the inner area of the tooth causing nerve inflammation and discomfort. Therefore, we must treat any cavities you have before we can whiten your teeth.
||If you have receding gums or tooth decay, your teeth may become sensitive if we attempt to whiten them.
||If your gums have receded, the exposed tooth roots can have a yellow or discolored appearance. Tooth whitening treatments will not fix this.
||If you have porcelain or ceramic crowns or veneers, whitening will not work to brighten them.
Teeth Whitening Procedures
You can have your teeth whitened either in our office or at home. Talk with us so we can determine which option is better for you.
The procedure begins with your specialist at Integrated Dental photographing your teeth so we can monitor the treatment's progress. The dentist will also examine your teeth to make sure you're eligible and you should have your teeth cleaned to remove bacteria, food, and other substances that have built up on your teeth. We then begin the whitening procedure by applying a prescription-strength gel to the tooth's surface.
At Home Whitening
We will give you home whitening gel that you must apply once a day for 2 to 3 weeks. Results depend on how long and how often you use the whitening material. This is also a great way to maintain a white smile after undergoing the In-office Whitening treatment.
For more information, please contact our office at (631) 659-5599 or fill out our Appointment Request Form and a member of our team will be in contact with you to get started!