How Do Dentists Whiten Teeth? - Vita Dental Spring
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How Do Dentists Whiten Teeth?

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Tooth whitening is a procedure used to remove discolorations and stains that may be present on your teeth. The process leaves you with shiny teeth and a beautiful smile on your mouth. Tooth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed by the Vita Dental Spring dentists.

It is a procedure that helps to improve the way your teeth look. You should note that this is not a one-off procedure as it has to be repeated every once in a while to ensure that you get to retain your bright new smile.

Understanding Teeth Whitening

The outer layer of your tooth is known as the enamel. Its natural color occurs when light reflects on it before combining with the color of the dentin that is below it. Your genes usually determine the smoothness and thickness of your enamel. When you have thin enamel, it makes it possible for the dentin color to show through it.

As such, having a rough or smooth enamel will typically affect the light reflection, and as such, the color of your enamel. Every day, a pellicle (thin coating) begins forming on your enamel and then starts to pick up the unwanted stains. Your tooth enamel also has pores that can be used to hold these stains.

At Vita Dental Spring, we have established that the common reasons for getting stained teeth include:

  • Smoking or using tobacco
  • Consuming dark-coloured liquids, e.g., red wine, tea, and cola
  • Refusing to practice proper oral hygiene measures

Ageing also affects the brightness of your teeth. The dentin darkens, and the enamel starts to thin out. Stains can also occur on the inner part of your teeth. Such blemishes are known as intrinsic stains.

An intrinsic stain can occur when one gets exposed to too much fluoride when their teeth are still developing. Ingestion of tetracycline antibiotics can also cause this problem. Trauma has also been seen to cause teeth darkening. The teeth whitening procedure offered at Vita Dental Spring is most effective when performed on extrinsic or surface stains.

Preparation

It is important to note that there are dental procedures which are likely to affect the success of your tooth whitening procedure. For instance, you need to ensure that all cavities have been dealt with before you can have the teeth whitened. The reason being that the solution used to whiten your teeth may pass through the areas that have become decayed and reach the inner regions of your tooth.

If your gums have started to recede, it is likely that the exposed parts of your tooth will start to become yellow or discolored. Using a whitening product on such areas will not help to lighten your teeth. If you have receding or decaying gums, choosing to whiten the teeth may increase their sensitivity.

You should also note that whitening does not work on veneers, porcelain crowns, or ceramic crowns. When you visit Vita Dental Spring offices for a whitening consultation, the dentists will notify you on whether the procedure can be performed at home or in our offices.

For in-office whitening, we will begin by photographing your teeth. Taking your teeth images is an essential step as it helps us to monitor the progress of your treatment. Our dentist will also look at your teeth and ask a few questions about your lifestyle to determine what may be behind this staining.

Once this is complete, one of our dental hygienists will start the process of cleaning the teeth. Teeth cleaning are essential as it assists in getting rid of food, bacteria, and any other items that may have started to build-up on the teeth leading to the unwanted staining of your teeth. Once the hygienist finishes with the cleaning, the dentists will now kick-start the whitening procedure.

How Tooth Whitening Is Done

Currently, there are two methods used to whiten teeth. These are vital and non-vital whitening. Teeth that have live nerves use vital whitening while those that have undergone root canal treatments, and no longer contain live nerves use the non-vital whitening process.

  1. Vital Whitening. It is the most common type of tooth whitening and involves the application of hydrogen peroxide gel on the tooth surface. Next, the dentist will use a laser or a special light to activate this gel.
  2. Non-vital Whitening. Vital whitening isn’t applicable for someone who has undergone a root canal treatment. In such a case, the stains will be coming from the inner part of the tooth. This procedure involves placing a tooth whitening agent on the inner part of the mouth and then placing a filling above it.

Follow-Up

It will be necessary to follow-up with the Vita Dental spring family dentists in case your gums become white or sore after undergoing a teeth whitening procedure. Also, remember that this procedure is not permanent and that the stains will likely come back after a while. Avoiding the stain sources will be a great way to prolong your smile’s brightness.