First impressions matter, and one of the first things others notice about your appearance are your teeth. They notice if they are straight or crooked or white or yellow or if you are missing your two front teeth or you’re not. And, like it or not, people will make a judgement on your appearance based on the state of your teeth. Hence, the proliferation of teeth whitening treatments, or bleaching, has taken hold in this country.
At Smile Designers in Longmont, a local dentist, we understand how important white teeth are in this society. Hence, we offer teeth whitening services to our patients. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the nitty-gritty details of teeth whitening and why perhaps you should consider trying it. Contact us, and ask about our new patient specials today!
THE NITTY-GRITTY OF TEETH WHITENING
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is classified as a cosmetic dentistry procedure that aims to whiten your teeth as much as possible. It removes stains caused by foods such as coffee and wine and helps to restore the natural color of your teeth. Teeth whitening will at the very least lighten your teeth.
Why would you want to whiten your teeth?
Your appearance is very important not only to others, but also to yourself. When you look in the mirror, you want to look your best. A big component of this is the color of your teeth. Most people whiten their teeth because they want to look their best and feel better about themselves that in turn lifts self-esteem.
What affects tooth color?
- Food and drinks. Due to color pigments and acid content, some food and drinks can leave your teeth stained. Common foods that stain your teeth are coffee, tea, and red wine.
- Tobacco. Again, the ingredients in tobacco products are the culprits in this case. These include tar and nicotine. Tar is a dark substance. Nicotine, when it hits the oxygen in the air and the oxygen that you breathe, turns yellow. Both of these substances love to adhere to the enamel on your teeth.
- Age. Like other parts of your body, teeth wear out over time as well. Below the enamel of your teeth, which is the outer layer, is a layer of tooth known as dentin. As you brush and eat foods, your enamel begins to thin. Dentin is more yellow than enamel so this now begins to show through.
- Injury. If you’ve been hit hard in the mouth, your teeth may have been affected. When you are injured, your teeth go into protection mode, and they lay down more dentin, which we just learned is more yellow than enamel. This will show up in the color.
- Medications. Certain medications can cause an adverse reaction to your teeth color and be darker than normal. Chemotherapy, radiation, and certain antihistamines, antipsychotics, and high blood pressure medications can affect your teeth color.
How does teeth whitening work?
In essence, products are applied to your teeth to make them brighter. These products all contain bleach. There are basically four options for whitening your teeth.
- Stain removal toothpastes. All toothpastes have active ingredients to help remove stains from your teeth. However, some toothpastes have extra ingredients to help fight tooth stains. These ingredients are extra polishing agents. Most of the toothpastes with these ingredients will be labeled as such.
- At a dentist’s office. In-office bleaching, such as what is offered by the Smile Designers in Longmont, is a simple procedure where a protective gel or rubber shield is applied to your gums and then a bleach is applied to your teeth usually using a mouthguard-type device. This will protect your gums during the teeth whitening process. The active ingredient in these dental whitening procedures is either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. When either one of these two is combined with oxygen from the air, the color is lightened.
- At-home teeth whitening kits from your dentist. These kits are provided by your local dentist such as the Smile Designers for use at home and will vary in the number of applications required. The dentist will give you instructions on its use.
- Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits or other at-home teeth whitening kits available online. These will vary in terms of number of applications required, strength, and overall effectiveness. The concentration will be less than what’s available in your dentist’s office. Make sure it has been approved by the ADA (American Dental Association) before you use it.
What is laser whitening?
Laser whitening is a relatively newcomer to the cosmetic dentistry field. Similar to traditional teeth whitening procedures, laser teeth whitening adds in the power of lasers to the mix. In essence, your gums will be covered with a protective shield and a bleaching product will be applied to your teeth. Then a laser will be shone on your teeth to activate the ingredients. This in effect speeds up the reaction time of the teeth whitener, changing the color of your teeth quicker. Furthermore, some patients report that laser teeth whitening is more effective at lightening your teeth.
How many teeth whitening treatments are required?
Teeth whitening procedures will vary according to the results you desire and the particular formula your local dentist uses. Usually, you will receive one in-office treatment and then be sent home to continue the teeth whitening treatment from home for a two to four week period that your local dentist such as Smile Designers in Longmont will explain. However, some teeth whitening procedures are meant to be applied overnight, which can yield quicker results.
How long do your teeth stay white for?
This will vary based on your lifestyle, but, in general, teeth whitening lasts about three years. However, it can fade with use of tobacco products or from drinking coffee non-stop as coffee lovers are apt to do.
Are there any side effects to teeth whitening?
Some patients report sensitive teeth right after the treatment, but in general, no. Sometimes the peroxide in the bleach penetrates down through the enamel to the dentin and irritates the nerve. One caveat is that you can overdo teeth whitening. Don’t become obsessive, and stick to what your local dentist recommends.
HOW SMILE DESIGNERS CAN HELP
Smile Designers is the best family dentistry in Longmont. We offer quality dental care that includes preventive dental care, cosmetic dentistry (including teeth whitening), and restorative care of your teeth, or the repair of your teeth. We also offer periodontics, which is related to your gums, as well as children’s dentistry. We offer jaw joint treatments, as well as oral surgery. Odds are, we here at Smile Designers can help you with all your dental needs.
Our mission is to make your dental experience as comfortable as possible. We understand that a lot of people do not like the dentist, and they only come because they feel obligated. Here at Smile Designers in Longmont, we strive to take the fear out of your dental visit by making it as seamless as possible. We utilize all state-of-the-art equipment to make your dental visit as quick and as efficient as possible. Our friendly staff offers the best care for your family. Contact us today for all your dental needs, and be sure to ask about our new patient specials!