Teeth whitening is one of the simplest and most conservative cosmetic dentistry options. At the same time, it can have stunning results for your smile and overall appearance. At Value Dental Centers in Gilbert, AZ, our in-office and take-home whitening can dramatically lighten stains. After treatment, your smile could look several shades brighter – and several years younger. When you come in for a consultation, we will explain both whitening methods. Then we can help you choose the technique that is most appropriate for your goals and budget. Following whitening, we will also explain how you can retain the results of your treatment, and we can provide touch-ups, as needed.
What Causes Dental Stains?
Everyone suffers from some degree of dental discoloration. In most cases, stains appear because of certain foods and beverages. Items like red wine, coffee, and berries, contain dark-colored molecules called chromogens. With regular consumption, chromogens will stick to your dental enamel, giving your smile a yellow or brown tint. If you have experienced enamel erosion, discoloration will be worse. The underlying dentin is more porous, and, therefore, molecules can adhere to it more easily. Other common causes of discoloration include smoking, genetics, and age.
In some cases, you may develop internal stains. Often, they will appear because of dental infection. When the pulp inside your tooth starts to die, it will take on a dark hue. Old metal fillings can also show through your teeth, affecting their color.
In-Office and Take-Home Teeth Whitening
In-office and take-home whitening work along similar principles, and they can both be highly effective. During in-office treatment, your dentist or hygienist will coat your teeth in a light-activated bleaching gel. The gel will cause oxygen molecules to move through your teeth, and as they do, they will chemically break down stains. Typically, your practitioner will apply three separate coats of gel, and the entire treatment will take about 45 minutes.
If you opt for take-home whitening, you will receive whitening trays and a tube of whitening gel. Similar to that used during in-office care, the gel will have a milder formula, so it will not irritate your gums. You will wear the trays, filled with gel, every day. Typically they remain on your teeth for 30 minutes a day, and your entire treatment will last for about two weeks.
Are You a Candidate for Teeth Whitening?
If you want to remove external dental stains, you are likely a candidate for teeth whitening. Before beginning this treatment, your dentist will need to address current decay or gum disease. Following appropriate restorative care, you will typically qualify for whitening. Note that whitening cannot eliminate internal stains. However, we can recommend a different treatment, such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding, to conceal this type of discoloration.
Both in-office and take-home whitening can achieve comparable effects. Therefore, the right one for you will largely depend on your budget and desired timeline. In-office care offers immediate results, but take-home treatment usually costs less. In addition, if you struggle with tooth sensitivity, in-office care may be more appropriate. That way, your dentist can thoroughly monitor your treatment and make sure that the whitening gel never comes in contact with your gums.
How to Maintain Your Whiter Smile
After you undergo teeth whitening, stains will eventually come back. However, proper care can minimize future discoloration and extend the results of your treatment. First, of course, you should practice good dental hygiene, including brushing and flossing, as well as routine exams and cleanings. In addition, you should cut back on dark-colored foods and drinks. Enjoy them in moderation and be sure to drink plenty of water when you do choose to indulge. Finally, you can undergo routine whitening touch-ups, either at home or here in the office. If you touch up at home, be sure to do so according to your dentist’s instructions.
Contact Us to Schedule an Appointment
To learn more about teeth whitening and to find out which type may be right for you, contact Value Dental Centers Gilbert today.