As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away, eventually revealing a darker or yellow shade. The color of our teeth also comes from the inside of the tooth, which may become darker over time. Smoking and drinking coffee, tea, wine and soda may also contribute to tooth discoloration, making our teeth yellow and dull. Sometimes, teeth can become discolored from taking certain medications, such as tetracyclines, as a child. Excessive fluoridation (fluorosis) during tooth development can also cause teeth to become discolored.
Teeth whitening is a very popular and easy way to restore the brilliance of your smile.
There are many options on the market, including over-the-counter kits, take-home professional whitening kits, and in-office professional whitening. While over-the-counter kits are very affordable, they provide limited results. The best and most effective option is professional teeth whitening administered by your dentist.
Home teeth whitening systems
Take-home products usually consist of a gel that is placed in a custom-fitted tray created from a mold of your teeth. The trays are worn either twice a day for approximately 30 minutes or overnight while you sleep. It usually takes several weeks to achieve the desired results, depending on the degree of staining and the desired level of whitening.
In-office teeth whitening
This treatment is done in our dental office and you will see results immediately. It may require more than one visit, with each visit lasting 30 to 60 minutes. While your gums are protected, a bleaching solution is applied to the teeth. A special light is also used to enhance the action of the bleaching agent.
Since teeth whitening is not permanent, a touch-up may be needed every several years to keep your smile looking bright.
Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity after having their teeth whitened. This sensation is temporary and subsides within a few days.