Teeth Whitening Basics
Tooth whitening lightens the teeth by removing stains and discolorations from the outer layer of the tooth, known as the enamel. The color of your teeth is created by the reflection and scattering of light off the enamel. Underneath the enamel is dentin, a bony tissue that is usually yellow or grey in color. Patients with thinner enamel will have more of their dentin show through, making their teeth appearing darker in color.
Tooth enamel also contains pores that can hold stains. Every day, your enamel can pick up stains from the foods and liquids you consume. The most common causes of stains include:
Professional tooth whitening produces the fastest results and is the safest form of bleaching. We can also control gum and tooth sensitivity issues with the use of desensitizers like potassium nitrate and fluoride.
Whitening is not right for everyone. Whitening is typically ineffective for intrinsic stains—stains on the inside of the tooth. This includes stains caused by trauma, tetracycline antibiotics, overexposure to fluoride, and inorganic stains.
Preparation for Teeth Whitening
Before you can receive an in-office whitening treatment, you will likely need to undergo a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup. J. Andrew Bagley DDS or W. Ryan Bagley DDS may also perform a comprehensive exam to check for potential problems like tooth decay, fractures, and periodontal disease. A bleaching agent could irritate if any of these conditions are present. Lastly, we may take photos of your teeth to document the progress of your treatment. Once this is complete, we can begin the whitening procedure.
In-office Whitening Procedure
During your procedure, we will apply the gel directly on to the tooth’s surface. Most of the time, this gel contains some form of hydrogen peroxide. The gel is kept on the teeth for approximately 15 to 30 minutes. Once the time is up, we will wash off your teeth and apply fresh gel. This process may be repeated several times until we achieve the desired results. Between applications, we will check your teeth to see how well they have whitened. After the final gel application, you will rinse out any remaining debris, and we will check the shade of your teeth. In as little as 45 minutes, your teeth could be as many as eight shades brighter than before! If we do not achieve a satisfactory level of whitening, we will recommend a follow-up appointment at a future date. We may also recommend take-home bleaching trays. If this is the case, we will give you a professional grade bleaching gel and a detailed set of instructions.
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
If you are interested in whitening your teeth, call (509) 547-1631, and schedule your appointment today!