Teeth Whitening | Cosmetic Dentistry
Teeth Whitening is NOT a New Idea
Even in Ancient Rome, they had ways to making smiles whiter. However, it’s unlikely that their mixture of urine and goat’s milk would be popular in modern times!
Today, it’s possible to get teeth anywhere from two to seven shades whiter, and whitening shade guides are used to measure the effectiveness of the procedure. Results may last for several months, depending on factors like patient’s diet and the natural characteristics of the teeth.
Teeth whitening can be either be done in-office (under the care of a general dentist or a cosmetic dentist), or at home. Either way, whitening (restoring teeth to natural color) or dental bleaching (whitening beyond natural color) is a safe, easy and common procedure. In an office, you are likely to experience either a bleaching gel or laser bleaching. At home, you can choose brushing, bleaching strips, a bleaching pen or natural bleaching. There are also non-dental methods of teeth whitening, which can typically be found at spas, salons and mall kiosks.
Dental Whitening Agents
In-office bleaching uses a hydrogen peroxide solution that penetrates the tooth enamel and bleaches stains in the dentin. For an even greater effect, called “power bleaching,” some dentists use light energy to supplement the procedure. At home, bleaching solutions often rely on a solution of carbamide peroxide, which is less powerful than peroxide, but more suitable for non-professional use.
At home or in an office, bleaching solutions are generally applied directly to the teeth. This is done using a medicated gel (either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) in a mouthguard or on a plastic strip.
Whitening toothpastes contain small particles of aluminum oxide, silica, calcium phosphate and silica, and grind stains off the teeth. Although bleaches can change the natural color of the teeth, whitening toothpastes only affect the surface layer. Other at-home products include chewing gums, rinses and low-concentration whitening strips, which work similarly to the more powerful strips for in-office and home use, but contain weaker doses of whitening and/or bleaching agent. We recommend Opalescence Teeth Whitening for teeth whitening procedures.
When teeth have changed color due to health or medical events (root canals, etc), teeth whitening is achieved from inside the tooth. A dentist drills a hole in the pulp chamber of the tooth, then cleans it, seals it and fills it with a gummy substance, then applies peroxide gel inside the pulp chamber.
People use a wide variety of methods to whiten their teeth naturally. Some are more effective – and riskier – than others. Malic acid is an effective choice, and can be found in the pulp of crushed strawberries and green apples. Brushing with lemon juice and with baking soda also works. Unfortunately, even though these methods are natural, they can be harsh on enamel, and should be used sparingly.
Apples, carrots and celery also remove stains from enamel by increasing saliva (a self-cleaning agent) and by scrubbing debris off the teeth.
Before beginning a teeth whitening or teeth bleaching program, it is recommended that you visit your dentist.
Risks can include chemical burns (from gel bleaching), pain and increased sensitivity.
Need a smile touch up? Have your teeth yellowed with time? We offer both in-house and take-home teeth whitening solutions. Give us a call at (509) 628-1144 to book your teeth whitening appointment today, or review our Cosmetic Dental Services.