What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening, or Teeth Bleaching, is a popular cosmetic procedure that is intended to transform dull, discolored teeth. The precise application of an approved peroxide product doesn’t just take your teeth back to their original shade; teeth whitening can lift the radiance of your smile beyond your natural shade. This is significant because many people’s teeth are naturally somewhat off-white due to the thickness of their enamel or other genetic factors.
How the Teeth Whitening Process Works
The teeth whitening gel is a peroxide that soaks into the tiny tubules, or pores, in enamel. Here, beneath the surface of your teeth, peroxide releases oxygen. The oxygen breaks apart the molecules that have settled in tubules, much as bleach bleaches your clothes. Stains from coffee, tea, and even smoking can be minimized or even eliminated in just one visit. It is also possible for teeth to be made whiter than their natural shade using professional-grade products and technique.
How long does a tooth whitening procedure take?
Teeth whitening that is performed here in our office takes only about an hour. In that time, it is possible to lift teeth into a shade several times brighter than they were before treatment.
Teeth whitening that is performed at home with a whitening kit provided by our office takes longer to achieve the level of results we can obtain in the office. However, whitening at home may be more convenient or comfortable for some patients. Home whitening gets excellent results. Patients may notice a difference after their very first home whitening treatment. With each application of the professional-grade whitening solution, teeth will look slightly more radiant. In most cases, dramatic results are achieved within a two-week period. However, more severe discoloration can take longer to correct.
What causes teeth to become stained?
We all have our own “natural” shade of white. This is based on genetic factors and the thickness of the enamel on our teeth. Thicker enamel may naturally be a darker shade of white. This is usually inconsequential. It is the discoloration that occurs over time that erodes the overall beauty of the smile.
There are several factors that cause teeth to lose radiance over time. Smoking is one of the primary reasons we see for yellowing. The foods and beverages that we consume have a subtler effect, but still alter the vibrancy of the smile, bit by bit. This happens because microscopic particles from food products penetrate the tubules in enamel. Settling of these particles blocks light, which diminishes radiance. The more accumulation that occurs, the darker teeth appear.
Some stains develop within tooth material, creating a challenge for conventional whitening technique. Tetracycline stains are much more stubborn than other types of stains. They are dark gray or brown and are deeply embedded in the dentin of the teeth. While bleaching treatments will make these teeth lighter, the best way to treat tetracycline stains is with porcelain veneers, available at our Beverly Hills dental practice.
Will my teeth become sensitive after tooth whitening?
Some people do experience slight temporary sensitivity when they undergo teeth whitening treatment. This can occur whether whitening is conducted in the office or at home. There are two reasons for sensitivity related to teeth whitening. The outer layer of enamel is coated with a protein pellicle that protects teeth from external stimuli. In order for stain molecules to be reached, it is necessary to diminish this coating. Without it, teeth are naturally more exposed. Additionally, the absorption of peroxide in the tubules of enamel creates pressure within the tooth. This pressure slightly irritates highly responsive nerve-endings in dentin, which lies just beneath the enamel.
Sensitivity does not indicate a problem. Comfort may be managed by using a sensitive-tooth toothpaste during your whitening process, followed by pH balancing oral rinse.
How long will my teeth stay white?
Teeth whitening treatment achieves beautiful results that can last anywhere from several months to several years. How long your results last will be determined by your daily habits. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day helps prevent the accumulation of plaque that can lead to discoloration. Avoiding tobacco also increases the duration of results from teeth whitening, as can habits such as rinsing your mouth after consuming coffee, red wine, and other products that can stain teeth.
One of the advantages of teeth whitening is that treatment can safely be repeated every year or two to maintain the brilliant smile you deserve.
Can whitening toothpaste be used after professional teeth whitening?
We may advise you to avoid teeth whitening toothpaste right after professional whitening treatment or while you are using our home whitening system. The whitening process itself somewhat disrupts the surface enamel on your teeth. This could make enamel susceptible to abrasions. Whitening toothpaste works by polishing teeth with tiny abrasive particles. Until enamel has regained optimal hardness, non-abrasive toothpaste may be the best choice.
Will whitening my teeth make them look straighter?
Teeth whitening using a bleaching agent can achieve remarkable results in terms of brightness. A brighter smile looks younger and friendlier and, although it is the brilliance of the smile that people may notice more than how straight your teeth are, it isn’t likely that your teeth actually appear straighter. If you have mild alignment issues in conjunction with discoloration, porcelain veneers may be an ideal treatment option to correct both issues simultaneously.
What is Zoom Whitening?
Zoom! is one of the fastest, most effective methods of teeth whitening to be developed. This in-office technique allows you to sit back and relax while we make over your smile. After shielding teeth and gums, we apply professional-grade whitening gel to your teeth. This gel is then activated with light for approximately 15-minutes, stimulating faster action. Depending on how many shades you wish to lift, and how your teeth respond, the process may be repeated a few times.
Zendaya visits Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Frey for ZOOM! Whitening
Are OTC whitening products good for my teeth?
Over-the-counter whitening products such as toothpaste and whitening strips are not necessary “bad” for your teeth. These products are formulated with the minimal active ingredient in order to meet safety standards for non-clinical usage. In some cases, OTC whitening may cause mild gum irritation. The primary concern with these methods is the lack of efficiency and success.
Take-home teeth whitening
We also offer take-home teeth whitening kits for our patients who would prefer to perform the whitening treatments themselves in the privacy of their own homes.
How do I use a take-home whitening kit from my dentist?
Home whitening systems are easy and convenient to use. At the onset of treatment, we fabricate a custom-fitted mouthpiece for the upper teeth and one for the lower teeth. In addition to these trays, you receive tubes of whitening gel. Each day, a small amount of gel is inserted into the inside of each tray and the trays are then inserted over your teeth. We can demonstrate how to apply the gel into the trays in the office before you begin your treatment. Trays are worn for a select amount of time, usually 30 minutes to an hour. After removing, gently brush and floss your teeth and rinse trays to remove remnant gel.
Schedule a consultation
Interested in whitening your teeth? Call (310) 276-4537 to schedule a consultation with Beverly Hills Dentist, Dr. David Frey.