One of the best ways to enhance and beautify your smile is through a simple and non-invasive treatment called teeth whitening (bleaching.) The number one aesthetic concern of patients is whiter teeth, and the constant eating of staining foods causes teeth to yellow or brown over time. Brushing alone will not remove staining to the degree that is desired, and home bleaching treatments will only whiten teeth about one shade or so, due to the fact that the bleach levels must be kept low in order to have the products be safe for consumer use. Professional bleaching can make teeth far whiter than home bleaching, and color matching to repairs to teeth is far more accurate in a professional bleaching job. Only tooth enamel is effected by bleach, so fillings, crowns or veneers will not be bleached the same way that surrounding teeth will, unless the bleaching is done accurately by a professional dentist to match colors.
Although teeth whitening lasts for years if well maintained, it is not a permanent procedure and teeth will continue to stain if the person consumes coffee, tea, soda or other staining foods.
Teeth whitening can help correct:
- Fluorosis, which is white streaking of teeth due to excess fluoride.
- Tooth wear.
- Medication staining.
- Food stains like coffee or tea.
How is teeth whitening done?
There are generally two types of professional whitening that can be done by a dentist. One procedure takes a single visit and involves the dentist painting a strong bleach on your teeth, then curing it for a period of time with a specialized light. The other type of teeth whitening procedure involves two visits where an impression taken on the first visit produces a specialized whitening tray from a dental lab. On the second visit the trays are fitted and bleaching instructions are given for at home. Bleaching compounds are provided and the patient performs the bleaching at home.
With proper care, teeth whitening can provide a healthy looking smile for years.