Our smiles are the best expressions of who we are and how we feel about ourselves and others. A smile displays confidence, competence, and accoChances are you picked up this page because you’re interested in having your teeth cosmetically lightened. You’re not alone. In fact, it seems only natural that most dental patients today are interested in having the whitest, brightest smiles possible. At one time, crowns (caps) were the only alternative to restoring badly discolored or decayed teeth. More recently, porcelain veneers and composite bonding have become available as an attractive alternative.
Now there’s another alternative available to make natural teeth look their brightest. This process reverses the discoloration of tooth enamel to create a whiter, more esthetic appearance. The advantages of this procedure are that no natural tooth structure is lost, and no anesthetic is required.
Not necessarily. As mentioned previously, it is only one alternative to lightening discolored teeth. Determining whether or not you are a candidate for tooth whitening is largely based upon diagnosing the exact cause of tooth discoloration. A number of factors contribute to discoloration, including:
- Tetracycline (antibiotic) staining
- Excessive fluoride
- Trauma (injury) to the teeth
- Pulp (nerve) degeneration
- Restorative materials (silver, gold)
- Genetic and acquired illnesses
- Consumption of staining substances, such as coffee, tea or tobacco products.
Another consideration in determining whether tooth whitening is for you is the strength and condition of your teeth. Careful clinical examinations and X-rays will help determine whether you are a candidate for this procedure.
What Tooth Whitening Options Are Available?
The two major types of tooth whitening systems are in-office (active) or passive (conducted by the patient at home while closely supervised by the dentist.) Sometimes your dentist may recommend either system or a combination of both, to give you the best results in the least amount of time. Regardless of which type of system you choose, it’s important that you follow the recommendations of your dentist. Self-treatments (as advertised on television) can be dangerous
A Final Note...
Following the tooth whitening procedure some patients’ teeth may temporarily exhibit a slightly "chalky" appearance. This is due to slight dehydration caused by the tooth whitening solution and will gradually disappear. Occasionally some patients experience mild sensitivity to cold food and beverages for a day or two following the procedure. We also recommend you avoid enamel staining substances such as coffee, tea and tobacco products for several days following your bleaching appointment.
If you have any further questions about tooth whitening, we will be happy to answer them. Those patients in our practice who have undergone cosmetic dental whitening treatment have acquired not only a more pleasing smile, but have experienced enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence.
Ask us How whitening can enhance your smile.