Will at home whitening work?
Dr. Barsky may suggest at-home tooth whitening, a less-expensive option that requires a longer commitment but may still yield the same results as in-office tooth whitening. It's also an alternative for patients with teeth too sensitive for light-induced whitening. Thin plastic trays are custom-molded to fit your teeth. You wear the trays filled with a solution of 35% hydrogen peroxide for 30-60 minutes a day for several weeks.
Over-the-counter whitners...will they work?
Whitening toothpastes and paint-on whiteners may not contain enough hydrogen peroxide or remain on teeth long enough to make a significant difference on their own. But they can help prolong the effects of in-office tooth whitening or take-home tray treatments.
What causes teeth to discolor?
Top stain-makers are red wine, coffee, cola soft drinks, tea and tobacco. Certain medications can also affect color. The antibiotic tetracycline can cause permanent tooth discoloration. Minocycline, another antibiotic often prescribed to treat acne, is one of the worst culprits for turning teeth dark. Genetics also play a role in determining tooth color. Some people simply have naturally brighter enamel.
How do teeth respond to bleaching?
It depends on all the factors mentioned above as well as their hue. For example:
Does tooth whitening really work?
Yes! Bleaching is most successful with superficial stains, diminishing most caused by age, tobacco, coffee, tea, or wine. In fact, clinical studies show that 96 percent of patients who pursue bleaching to correct such stains go on to enjoy much improved teeth. Many people have stains caused by previous use of certain medications, like tetracycline. Unfortunately, these stains are generally considered untreatable by bleaching systems. Additionally, it must be noted that bleaching is only effective on true enamel, and can't be relied upon to brighten dental restorations like veneers or crowns.
Should I be aware of tooth whitening side effects?
Some teeth whitening patients report that there is slight temporary discomfort associated with the treatment. An increased sensitivity to hot and cold, usually a reaction to the hydrogen bleaching mixture used during treatment, is also sometimes experience, but can vary based on the concentration of hydrogen used. Finally, patients using at-home systems sometimes report gum irritation, often caused by the tray that is worn over the teeth.
Patients also are encouraged to use over-the-counter treatments with caution, as excessive use can take a toll on tooth enamel, especially those treatments that contain acid. Because of this, it is a common belief that teeth whitening is a procedure best performed by or under the supervision of a dentist or trained dental hygienist.
Overall, there are no health risks posed by any of the major teeth whitening treatments available today.
How much brighter will my teeth be after a whitening treatment?
This can be a difficult question to answer as specifically as some people would like, because the results are relative. There is no standard measurement tool by which dentists record tooth color, and the layout and shape of your teeth can affect the final results.
It's important to note that not every tooth in your mouth is the same hue. It's common for our front teeth to be the whitest, while molars are typically less so, and the eye teeth generally are the darkest. The most realistic goal that any bleaching patient can have is to see their teeth return as closely as possible to their original shade. Of course, we want the look to remain natural as well. Additionally, patients should keep in mind that after most bleaching treatments, they'll leave their dentist's office with a noticeably whiter smile that will add an attractive confidence to their face.
After pursuing teeth whitening, is there any specific maintenance routine to follow?
As mentioned previously, bleaching results can be quite affected by cigarettes, dark soda, red wine, coffee, and other food or drink that stain the teeth. It's best to try to cut down on such habits, pursuing them only in moderation. It sounds a little strange, but you might also benefit from drinking dark liquids with a straw! Some quick tips for maintaining your sparkling smile:
Whitening (sometimes called, "bleaching") is a procedure that is designed to lighten the color of your teeth. An important component of your aesthetic, or cosmetic dentistry, whitening will enhance your smile and lift your confidence.