Why are my teeth yellow and dull?
At some point in time, most people will notice it. Perhaps sitting with a friend or colleague, we notice that their teeth are not quite bright and dazzling. When we look into the mirror, it is quite possible we will be faced with the same problem: teeth that are dull, yellow, and not as youthful and healthy looking as they once were.
Tea, coffee, red wine, and tobacco are the most recognized causes of tooth discoloration, but many other foods can change the color of teeth over time. Our teeth can become dull if plaque builds up on the surface, as age changes the chemistry of the body, and in response to external factors. What is important is not necessarily trying to find a way to keep teeth their brightest, but finding the safest, most effective solution to discoloration when it occurs.
Tooth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.
Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are several ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home tooth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.
Tooth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up maybe needed once a year and more often if you smoke and/or drink coffee, tea, or wine.
Reasons For Tooth Whitening
- Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development)
- Normal wear of outer tooth layer
- Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.)
- Yellow, brown stained teeth
What does At-Home tooth whitening involve?
Whitening systems provided by our dental office usually require two visits. At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom, clear, plastic trays.
At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit, and adjustments will be made if necessary. The trays are worn with special whitening solution either twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a couple of weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.
You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit our office regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.
Why We Recommend At-Home Whitening and Not Zoom Chairside Bleaching
The original teeth whitening process was first developed decades ago. Since that time, several advances have been made, promising better and faster results in the whitening process. What we have found at our office is that at-home teeth whitening, the original form of treatment, remains the most effective and the most comfortable. We see the deepest rich whitening with this technique.
Though several in-office treatments like Zoom have been developed for immediate results, the process of such treatments tends to dehydrate teeth, leading to sensitivity. We have all the components to perform this treatment for those that want a quick boost, but it is generally not our first choice.
Home whitening is completed over a two-week period, during which the teeth are exposed to safe bleaching solution for short periods. Delivered in custom-fitted trays designed from impressions of the patient’s teeth, whitening gel remains on teeth, away from delicate gum tissue where irritation can occur. Many people begin to see noticeable improvement in the color of their teeth after just a few days, with dramatic brightening seen at the completion of a few weeks. There are times when pretreatment conditions like tetracycline stains or thin enamel which may need additional time for desired results.
Brightening the smile can do wonders for your sense of confidence. Contact us for your consultation today.