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Having a professional teeth whitening treatment is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures. In fact, almost 90% of patients have inquired about teeth whitening during a dental appointment, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
Let’s take a look at in-office teeth whitening so that you know what is involved to learn if this cosmetic treatment would make a good choice for you.
Causes of Discolored Teeth
It is normal for teeth to become discolored over time due to factors like:
Food and beverages:
Tea, coffee, and red wine are a few of the beverages that are known to stain teeth. They contain pigments that strongly attach to tooth enamel.
This is a classic cause of tooth discoloration caused by the tar and nicotine found in tobacco.
Certain medications, like some antibiotics, can cause tooth discoloration.
If a tooth is injured, it can sometimes can turn a different color.
A teeth whitening treatment can make your teeth several shades lighter by brightening the color of the tooth enamel. Hydrogen peroxide is most commonly used, either in the form of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Peroxide helps in breaking down unstable free radicals that can discolor teeth.
Factors that determine how white your teeth will become include the length of time that your teeth are exposed to the whitening gel, as well as the concentration of the whitening agent itself.
In-Office Whitening Options
One treatment option is having your dentist form an impression of your teeth. This mold is then used to create a custom-made tray in which a bleaching gel will be placed. The tray can be used for up to four weeks.
Another type of treatment involves the use of lasers. Your dentist begins by carefully painting a bleaching agent onto your teeth. Next, a h2 laser is directed to the teeth to activate the whitening ability of the bleaching agent. This type of treatment normally takes around one hour.
Chairside teeth bleaching involves the application of a protecting gel to your gums to protect them from the bleaching agent. Alternately, a rubber shield can be used. Finally, a bleaching substance is applied to the teeth. This type of teeth whitening treatment may only involve one dental appointment.
After Your In-Office Teeth Whitening Treatment
Now that you have had your teeth whitened, you will want to ensure that your results last for as long as possible. Here are a few things to avoid:
- Dark-colored beverages like red wine, tea and coffee.
- Acidic drinks they can wear away tooth enamel. Be careful with fruit juice and alcohol.
- Sugary foods should be eaten only in moderation. Bacterial growth can lead to tooth decay and staining.
- Foods containing artificial colors can sometimes stain teeth.
- As a general rule, anything that can stain a white shirt can also stain your teeth.