Reasons for discoloration
Bel Air Dental Care’s team of clinical providers is experienced in cosmetic tooth bleaching. Whether you have an appointment with one of our residency trained doctors or long-tenured hygienists, our staff can help choose the right bleaching treatment for you. We offer a wide variety of bleaching solutions; from an inexpensive prescription strength version of Crest White Strips to customized take-home trays.
Natural tooth color is a genetic trait that varies from person to person, similar to hair and skin color. Some teeth are more yellow, and some yellow with aging. There are two different types of tooth discoloration; surface discoloration, and internal discoloration. Although, bleaching successfully lightens most discoloration, certain types (mostly internal) are more difficult to remove. The following are causes of tooth discoloration
- Beverages such as coffee and tea
- Certain foods, such as berries
- Deposits of calculus or tartar
- Traumatic injury
- Excessive fluoride
- Certain illnesses
- Taking the antibiotic tetracycline during early childhood
There are two types of bleaching procedures. Bleaching may be done completely in a dental office (known as chair side bleaching), or a system may be dispensed by the dentist for the patient to use at home (home-use bleaching)
Chair side bleaching is done in the dental office and usually takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour per visit (as with any procedure, consult your dentist for exact times). It is not uncommon for the teeth to become slightly sensitive following treatments. Brushing with Sensodyne toothpaste several weeks prior to bleaching has demonstrated decreased sensitivity.
Home-use bleaching is done by the patient under the supervision of the dentist while at home. In home-use bleaching, you are given a mouth guard that has been made from an impression of your teeth. You are then given a gel that is inserted into the mouth guard, and is worn (mouth guard with gel) for up to two hours daily or at night for about two weeks. The duration may vary according to your needs and your dentist's recommendations.
Some people with certain dental conditions may not be good candidates for this type of bleaching. People with gum recession, for example, may have exposed root surfaces that are highly sensitive that could be further irritated by the ingredients in whiteners. Also, these products are not recommended for habitual tobacco and alcohol users.
Please consult your dentist for any other procedures and conditions that may be recommended for your bleaching.
Over-the-counter products that are self-administrating are not recommended. Bleaching treatments should only be done under the supervision of a dentist following a proper examination and diagnosis of the discolored teeth.
In addition, if you have had tooth-colored crowns, bonding or composite restorations placed, talk with your dentist, since these materials will be a different shade of color than newly bleached teeth.
Advantages and Results
Tooth bleaching doesn't require any tooth structure to be removed, as do some other procedures to whiten teeth, and it is also the most economical.
Teeth may be bleached a shade lighter than desired since they will tend to darken slightly with time.
Most bleaching’s last one to three years, although in some situations it may be longer.
Your dentist will monitor the entire process of home-use bleaching to ensure its effectiveness and safety. Whiteners with the ADA Seal of Acceptance have been proven to be safe and effective. Consult your dentist about the whiteners that they use.