Teeth whitening is the number one elective cosmetic dental procedure in the world, and with so many people feeling the pressure to conform to an ‘ideal’ standard of beauty, it is easy to see why. Not only are bright, white teeth in keeping with society’s expectations of how we should look, but people who have them are often considered healthier, more attractive and even more successful. Studies have shown that patients who undergo successful whitening procedures are more likely to experience increased confidence and self-esteem that can have a positive impact on other areas of their lives.
Since teeth whitening is so popular, there has been an influx of products that claim to be able to lighten the color of teeth. However, the results that they offer are often mediocre and short term, or the product requires continual use to maintain them. Dentists everywhere agree that for the best possible results, professional in-office whitening is the only effective teeth whitening solution and we are pleased to be able to offer comprehensive, professional teeth whitening here at our dentistry practice in Castro Valley, CA.
There are a variety of different factors that contribute to our teeth becoming discolored and stained during our lifetime. Some of the most common causes of tooth discoloration include:
- Aging. The middle layer of our teeth, known as dentin, naturally darkens and yellows with age. This combined with the natural thinning of the outer enamel which allows the dentin to show through can cause our teeth to appear much darker than when we were younger.
- Eating and drinking certain foods. Products that contain tannins are more likely to stain the teeth over time. This includes tea, coffee, cola, red wine, berries and more.
- Over-exposure to fluoride, particularly during early childhood.
- Trauma to the tooth which causes bleeding inside the tooth.
While external staining such as that caused by eating and drinking certain foods can normally be removed fairly easily using professional teeth whitening, internal stains are a little harder to treat. This involves bleaching inside the tooth itself and then sealing it so that the chemical reaction can lighten the darkened dentin.
Professional in-office teeth whitening is a fairly simple, straightforward procedure. Firstly, your teeth are given a thorough clean by our dental team so that they are in the best possible condition ahead of whitening. This also helps to ensure that the whitening agent is applied consistently. Next, the gums are protected using a special shield and your mouth held open so that we have uncompromised access to your teeth. A professional grade bleaching agent is carefully pasted onto the teeth in an even coverage. A special curing light is placed over your teeth, triggering the chemical reaction that will cause stains to break down and the teeth to lighten. At the end of the session, which will take up to an hour, you will rinse the bleaching agent off of your teeth and be able to go back to your usual activities immediately.
If you are having internal bleaching, we will use a local anesthetic to drill a small access point to inside the tooth. The bleaching agent is inserted into the tooth and it is then sealed for around a week. After satisfactory lightening is achieved, the bleaching agent is cleaned out and the tooth covered with a composite filling.
Exactly how many teeth whitening sessions you will need will depend on the initial color of your teeth and the shade that you would most like to achieve. It may be possible to give you an estimation during your consultation but bear in mind that this is subject to change based upon how well you respond to the treatment.
If you would like more information about teeth whitening, or if you would like to book a consultation to see if you are a suitable candidate for this popular cosmetic dentistry procedure, please contact our offices in Castro Valley, CA by calling (510) 674-0900.