Your smile creates an immediate, subconscious, visual impact on people you meet. A brighter smile gives the impression of youth, vitality, radiant health, happiness, and warmth. A bright smile is perceived as a healthy smile.
Causes of Tooth Discoloration
As we age, the outer layer of enamel on our teeth is worn away, eventually revealing the darker tissue underneath. Our teeth may also become discoloured from smoking, from drinking coffee, tea, and wine, and even from taking certain medications as a child such as tetracycline
Types of Teeth Whitening
There are various ways to whiten your teeth, but the two most common are in-office treatment and the do-it-yourself approach, with over the counter products.
This procedure is called chairside bleaching and usually requires only one office visit. The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth, and a special light may be used.
Peroxide-containing whiteners actually bleach the tooth enamel. They typically come in a gel and are placed in custom made trays. The ‘active ingredient’ in the product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter. Before beginning any whitening procedure, be sure to consult with your dentist. Only he or she can evaluate whether you’re a suitable candidate for a particular treatment.
How long will my teeth stay whiter?
Tooth whitening can last for one or more years, depending on how well you take care of your teeth, and if you’re following up regularly with a home whitening product for regular maintenance.
What are the side effects?
Some people may find that their teeth become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. Others may have discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of the treatment finishing. If any of these side effects continue you should go to your dentist.
How can I look after my teeth once they have been whitened
You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drinks you have that can stain teeth. Don’t forget, stopping smoking can also help prevent discolouration and staining. We recommend the following tips to take care of your teeth:
- brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride
- cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks
- Visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend.