Did you know that teeth whitening is the number one (1) requested
cosmetic service today and that its popularity
continues to soar?
recent survey showed 80% of Americans aged 18 to 49
want whiter teeth, with women leading in this area
at 85%. 6 out 10 believe a whiter, brighter smile
would boost their self confidence especially in the
18 to 24 age range.
According to the American Academy
of cosmetic Dentistry, Americans spent more than
$1.4 billion on over-the-counter teeth whitening
products last year alone.
One of the first things people notice when they meet
someone new is their smile. Teeth Whitening has
become an accessible and relatively easy way to
instantly improve appearance, create a positive
first impression, and achieve a more youthful and
radiant appearance. Teeth can become discolored over
a period of time. Teeth whitening is not
a medical procedure, it does not result in healthier
teeth, but it can result in whiter teeth.
What causes discoloration of the teeth?
Discoloration can be
caused by several factors including ageing,
smoking, consumption of staining foods and
beverages, staining caused by medication, aging,
hereditary factors, and chemical damage to teeth. Some of the more
common causes of teeth discoloration are
medications, coffee, tea, or cigarettes. People who
drink significant amounts of cola soft drinks can
experience similar staining.
from staining, there are other factors that can
affect the color of an individual's teeth. Genetics
can play a role. Some people have naturally brighter
enamel than others. Disease can also be a factor and
certain medications can cause a discoloration of the
teeth. If you suspect that there is an underlying
medical cause for your teeth discoloration, be sure
to inform your cosmetic dentist.
Smoking will cause a
build up on teeth that can cause a yellow to orange
color staining. These stains can take longer to
lighten. Nicotine staining takes 1-3 months to
whitening through nightly use. Using tobacco will
actually speed up how fast your teeth lose their new
Aging also contributes to the
yellowing of teeth. The enamel, which is the
hard outer coating of your teeth, wears thin,
allowing the underlying layer of yellowish
dentin to show through. Most common are yellow-brown to dark
brown stains that probably caused by an accumulation
of dental plaque, food stain, and poor oral
hygiene. Aging or inherit discoloration usually
occurs in 9 out of 10 people. These stains usually
bleach quite readily as due yellowish discoloration,
whether due to aging or tobacco smoke, likewise
responds well to bleaching. Staining from aging
takes about 1-6 weeks to whiten.
The rule of thumb is
that anything that can stain your table cloth,
clothes, or carpet can
also stain your teeth. Think tomato sauce, blueberry
pie, red wine, etc.
Safe Teeth Bleaching Tips:
Always get a
dental check-up before using any kind of
bleaching product (even at-home kits).
bleaching directions. Do not over bleach.
Aim for a
natural look - not "refrigerator" white.
There are three types
of teeth whitening:
- Bleaching your teeth
to change the color of the tooth enamel by removing
stains. Your dentist can bleach your teeth at his or
her office. The solutions used by the dentists have
a concentrated peroxide solution of about 35%.
During a single treatment, teeth can by whitened by
12 to 14 shades.
- You can also do it
yourself with a kit you buy from the dentist. In the
tray and gel solutions, the dentist prepares a mouth
piece filled with gel for the patient to wear a few
hours every night for about two weeks. These gels
contain between 10% and 15% peroxide, and can get
teeth whiter by about 8 shades.
- Using inexpensive
over-the-counter whitening toothpastes that you can
purchase at your local store. Whitening strips with
about a 4 percent peroxide solution can whiten teeth
by 2 or 3 shades.
Bleaching doesn't always work:
Bleaching may not work
if you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings in
your front teeth. The bleach will not affect
the color of these materials. They will only stand
out if you whiten the rest of your teeth. It is best
to consult with your dentist before using any teeth
whitening systems, especially if you have many
fillings, crowns, or very dark stains.
Bleaching side effects:
Bleaching your teeth
can have side effects. Teeth can become sensitive
(hot and cold sensitivity) and gum irritation
can occur when you are using the bleaching solution, but this
usually goes away when you finish your treatment. A
mouthpiece that does not fit well may hurt your
gums. Other, less frequently encountered, side
effects that have been reported by patients are:
sore throat, tooth pain, tingling of the
tissues, and headaches.
Blue Teeth People:
Don't go overboard
with whitening. The color resulting from too many
treatments is unnatural. Let your teeth be pearly
white. Unfortunately there are people who can never
get enough and bleach too often and too much.
them the "blue teeth people." Everyone has
seen them! Their teeth have a bluish look to them.
Bleachers should aim for a color that matches the
whites of their eyes.
long do the whitening effects last?
whitening is not permanent, as your teeth will
slowly become discolored again.
expose their teeth to foods and
beverages that cause staining may see
the whiteness start to fade in as little
as 1 month. Those who avoid foods and
beverages that stain may be able to wait
one year or longer before another
whitening treatment or touch-up is
you do choose to consume
beverages that stain, consider
using a straw so that the liquid
bypasses your front teeth.
Brush or rinse immediately after consuming stain-causing beverages or foods.
Follow good oral hygiene practices. Brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss at least once daily to remove plaque. Use a whitening toothpaste (once or twice a week only) to remove surface stains and prevent yellowing. Use a regular toothpaste the rest of the time.
Consider touch-up treatments. Depending on the whitening method used, you may need a touch-up every 6 months or after a year or two. If you smoke or drink lots of stain-causing beverages, you may need a touch up more often.