Eating your favourite foods or drinking your favourite foods can wear down the natural enamel of your teeth which causes yellow stains. Even aging factors or certain medications can cause discolouration on your teeth.
One of the most popular and effective ways to restore the natural color of your teeth is a teeth whitening treatment. This non-invasive cosmetic treatment provides a quick and affordable solution to enhance your smile with brighter, whitened teeth. Although there are many tooth whitening treatments available online, the most effective and low-risk procedures are those performed by a licensed dentist or dental professional in a dental office.
Types of Tooth Discoloration
The type of teeth whitening method you will need depends entirely on the type of stain you have on them. There are two main types of stains that can present themselves on your teeth: extrinsic and intrinsic.
Extrinsic stains appear on the surface of your teeth as a result of poor hygiene, dark-colored food or drink such as coffee, red wine or tea and through the use of tobacco products or general wear and tear. Extrinsic stains, also known as external staining, tend to appear where the natural tooth enamel is rough and thin. These can usually be resolved with at-home tooth whitening kits unless they are deep. For deep extrinsic stains, the most effective treatments are carried out in the dentist’s office by a dental professional.
Intrinsic stains form in the interior of the teeth as a result of trauma or exposure to minerals like excessive fluoride or medication such as antibiotics. This type of stain tends to be more difficult to treat and may be resistant to whitening treatments altogether where a different treatment could be a better solution but this is something we can assess and discuss during your initial consultation with us at Art of Dentistry.
Teeth Whitening Methods
There are a number of tooth whitening kits, products and treatments available that can be carried out at home or in a dentist. Most whitening products contain compounds of bleaching agents including hydrogen or carbamide peroxide which penetrate the tooth enamel to remove stains. Others use phthalimido-peroxy-hexanoic acid (PAP) as it works better for sensitive teeth. Regardless of the teeth whitening treatment you choose; they are all considered to be safe as long as they are applied correctly.
If you choose to go ahead with an at-home treatment, we recommend that you speak with us first to determine whether they will work for you. It is especially important to seek advice if you have sensitive teeth, dental restorations, crowns, fillings or extremely dark teeth.
Toothpaste contains mild abrasives that will remove surface stains by one shade but do not contain bleach, although some may include chemical agents for effective stain removal.
Over-The-Counter (OTC) Teeth Whitening
You can walk into a pharmacy and purchase a number of OTC teeth whitening treatments including gels, strips, pens and even rinses. Whitening strips are thin, invisible strips that are coated with peroxide-based gel and should be applied for 30 minutes or depending on the instructions whereas gels, also peroxide-based, are to be applied using a small toothbrush. Results for both can begin to show within a few days.
Whitening pens contain bleaching agent gels that are applied with a brush and left on the teeth to dry within minutes. They are great for whitening hard-to-reach places and convenient as they can be carried around, allowing you to use them as many times as you’d like, throughout the day.
Whitening rinses which contain bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide work like most mouthwashes as they freshen breath and reduce plaque as well as whiten teeth. They are also to be used the same as mouthwashes, twice a day for 60 seconds where results can be seen in 12 weeks.
Tray-based and LED Whitening Kits
Tray-based and LED whitening kits are similar in that they both involve wearing a mouth guard tray for a period of time in the day that is filled with a whitening solution gel containing a bleaching agent such as peroxide. The difference is that the LED whitening kit will contain LEDs to increase the speed of the whitening agent to penetrate stains. Unfortunately, the LED kit may require a power source to work which means you could be seated in one place for the duration of your treatment.
This solution is affordable and safe for your natural tooth enamel. Although it may take some time for the tray-based whitening results to show, they can be as good as an in-office treatment.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional, in-office, teeth whitening treatment is a non-invasive procedure that is carried out by a dental professional to give you more dramatic and noticeable results that are immediately visible. At the Art of Dentistry, we will assess your teeth to determine whether this treatment will be effective as well as any sensitivity issues or allergies you may have.
Before applying a stronger concentration of a bleaching agent to your teeth, we will spread a protective layer to your teeth and provide you with a gum shield for the gums. You will see instant results but may need this procedure repeated 6 to 12 months later for upkeep.
If you are wondering whether you qualify for teeth whitening or have tried OTC or at-home whitening kits but haven’t found them to be effective for you, book a consultation with our team to find out the best solution for you.