What causes tooth discoloration?
Tooth discoloration can be caused by a number of factors such as aging, consumption of certain foods and beverages, and tobacco use. Stains on teeth can be classified in one of two ways: extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic stains appear on the surface of your teeth. Intrinsic stains live between the microcracks in your enamel and deep within your dentin (the layer of your tooth underneath your enamel). Whitening toothpastes and mouth rinses may be able to remove some of the extrinsic stains on your teeth, but only teeth whitening agents can remove the stubborn extrinsic stains and the unsightly intrinsic stains that cause your teeth to look discolored.
What can be done to Whiten your teeth?
We can help you achieve whiter teeth with a take home tooth whitening system. First a thorough exam is performed, and if needed a professional cleaning by one of our hygienists. Then we take impressions of your teeth and pour models. This allows us to make custom fit whitening trays to deliver the whitening product evenly and effectively. During your appointment we will show you how to properly use your whitening system by placing a small amount of gel (containing carbamide peroxide and potassium nitrate) into the trays. The gel works by that penetrating your enamel to get to discolored molecules. Oxygen molecules from the whitening agents react with the discolored molecules in your teeth, breaking the bonds that hold them together. The oxygen molecules spread, whitening the entire tooth. As a result, you are left with a brighter, whiter smile. Generally we suggest wearing the trays for 2 hours a day, everyday for 2 weeks, depending on the amount of discoloration.
We would be happy to discuss any questions you have, and help you decide if whitening is for you!