Teeth whitening is an in-office or at-home procedure designed to lighten the natural color of the teeth without destroying the enamel. Teeth whitening is a personal choice but it’s one of the most common procedures done at dental offices because most people desire a beautiful bright smile.
Tooth discoloration can naturally occur with age, but there are a few contributing factors that could speed up the discoloration process, such as consuming certain foods and drinks, taking certain antibiotics, practicing poor oral hygiene, and smoking tobacco.
Drinks like coffee, tea, and wine are known to stain the teeth, which is why it’s important for individuals to limit their intake if they want to avoid future discoloration.
Not brushing and flossing regularly could cause a buildup of calculus, which tends to make the teeth appear discolored. Staining could also be occurring underneath the tooth’s surface, which is often caused by antibiotics or small cracks in the teeth.
When selecting which method to choose, it’s best to select a dentist-supervised method, which includes at-home and in-office choices. For individuals that choose the at-home option, the dentist will provide custom-fit trays and whitening gel. The trays are designed to fit the teeth perfectly so that the gel does not irritate the gums. This process usually takes about two to four weeks as individuals will have to apply the trays and gel for 30 minutes to an hour for each session.
For individuals who choose the in-office option, dentists will still apply a gel but they may also use a light to speed up and enhance the bleaching process. Using laser power can make the teeth five to six shades lighter.
Results are supposed to last up to three years, but this can be affected by certain lifestyle choices. For example, if individuals still smoke tobacco or drink liquids that stain the teeth, they can experience discoloration faster than intended.
It’s best for individuals to get their teeth professionally whitened by a dentist because some DIY methods can be harmful to teeth. For example, common DIY teeth whitening methods include using household products like baking soda in conjunction with lemons or apple cider vinegar. Others include mixing activated charcoal with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Using these ingredients regularly can be too harsh on the teeth and damage tooth enamel. Therefore, it’s best to consult with a dental professional about safe teeth whitening options.
At McBride Dental, we offer cosmetic services to help our patients enhance their beautiful smiles. We offer teeth whitening treatments that can be done in-office and at-home. We use advanced equipment that contains quality whitening agents that noticeably whiten the teeth after the first treatment. We also offer other cosmetic services, such as one-day dental veneers and MTM clear aligners. If you are in the San Diego area and would like to schedule an appointment with us, call us at (760) 471-1003.