Tooth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure that helps in lightening the color of the teeth and removing stains and discoloration. It is a performed by a professional in a dental office.
Why do teeth become stained?
Seldom, the tooth color runs in the genes. Some people have naturally thick and brighter enamel and as a result, have whiter teeth. People with thin enamel tend to have yellow teeth.
With advancing age, teeth become yellow as the enamel wears away, exposing the color of the underlying dentin, which is yellowish.
- Tobacco consumption
Cigarettes and other tobacco-based products contain Nicotine, which leaves the teeth stained and discolored. People with tobacco addiction have yellow or brown teeth.
Lifestyle is the number one reason for teeth discoloration and yellowing. People consuming tea, coffee, tomato sauce, and wine on a regular basis tend to develop stains that give their teeth an unsightly color.
Medicines containing tetracycline and doxycycline stain teeth and leave them discolored. Same can be said for medicines used to treat high blood pressure, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Fluoride, in regulated measures, strengthens the tooth enamel. If exposed to teeth in excess amounts, causes discoloration. You may be exposed to excess fluoride through environmental factors like water.
- Dental trauma
Dental trauma in the form of injury, decay or disease can cause stained and discolored teeth. Injuries cause cracks and fractures on the tooth enamel, which damage the tooth's interior and leave the tooth discolored. Diseases like periodontitis also cause severe tooth discoloration.
- Poor oral hygiene
Inept brushing and flossing allow the plaque and bacteria to accumulate in the mouth. They together make the teeth appear yellow and stained.
- Teeth clenching and grinding
Teeth clenching and grinding whether done consciously or unconsciously wear out the tooth enamel and makes the teeth look yellow and discolored.
What are the different kinds of stains?
There are three types of dental stains.
- Intrinsic stains
Intrinsic stains are present inside the tooth structure. They are caused by medications, dental trauma, chemotherapy treatment, and prescription-strength mouthwashes. Since the stains are present inside the tooth structure, removing these stains with tooth whitening is difficult.
- Extrinsic stains
Extrinsic stains are present on the outermost layer or surface of teeth. They are lifestyle-dependent and are caused by pigmentation due to drinks, foods, and plaque build-up. Extrinsic stains are easy to remove with tooth whitening.
- Age-related teeth stains
Age-related teeth stains produce the results of both intrinsic and extrinsic stains. With advancing age, your tooth enamel becomes thinner, exposing the underlying yellow-colored dentin. Age related teeth stains can be removed with tooth whitening.
How is tooth whitening performed?
Professional tooth whitening is performed at a dentist's office. The whitening procedure begins with the dentist taking pictures of your teeth. This is done to monitor the progress of the whitening treatment. Your teeth are then professionally cleaned to remove the plaque and tartar because a clean mouth responds better to the tooth whitening treatment. There are two types of tooth whitening procedures.
- Vital tooth whitening
Vital tooth whitening is performed for teeth that house living nerves and tissues in the pulp chamber. A whitening gel, rich in oxidizing agents, is applied to teeth and kept for 15-30 minutes. A special blue light is used to activate the oxidizing agents, which break down stains and leave the teeth looking lustrous.
Your dentist will also give you custom-made whitening trays that can be used at home for touch-ups.
- Non-vital tooth whitening
Non-vital tooth whitening is performed for teeth that have undergone a root canal treatment and do not contain any nerves or tissues in the pulp chamber. To whiten such teeth, your dentist will place a whitening agent inside your tooth and cover it with a temporary filling. The whitening agent is left inside the tooth for several days and once the tooth has reached the desired shade, the whitening agent is removed and the tooth is restored.
At Murray Dental Care of Cupertino, our entire team of dentists and hygienists is committed to providing supreme quality dental care to our patients and their families. If you are inclined towards taking the first steps to improve your dental health and hygiene, call us at (408) 253-5277 to book an appointment.