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Before and after teeth whitening

It’s only a matter of time before teeth become stained by the natural aging process and outside substances such as coffee, wine, and other foods. An easy and painless fix to this is teeth whitening treatments to improve the color and appearance of the teeth. Although there are several home treatment options available, professional whitening done by Reno dentists will drastically improve discolorations for a quick and affordable way to enhance your smile.

How Does the Teeth Whitening Process Work?

Dentist examining teeth

Teeth whitening treatments work to brighten the appearance of the teeth by breaking up stains using bleaching chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The chemicals are applied to the teeth to penetrate the enamel and initiate an oxidation process that will ultimately dissolve stains on the teeth.

With professional teeth whitening, a 15-35 percent hydrogen peroxide gel is most commonly used. Your dentist will first clean the teeth with pumice to make sure there is nothing on the teeth that could lead to uneven results. Also, a protective coating is put on the gums to prevent sensitivity or irritation from the chemicals. The whitening gel is then applied directly to the teeth for a short amount of time.

Each teeth whitening treatment will generally take from 60 minutes to 2 hours. This depends on the type of whitening procedure being done, the level of whitening desired, any special circumstances of the patient and the chemical makeup of the gel being applied to the teeth. Your dentist will work with you to achieve the desired level of color improvement while taking into consideration anything that could affect the outcome.

As mentioned, there are also treatment options that can be purchased over the counter and applied at home. Generally, these treatments are not as powerful as professional teeth whitening done by a dentist and, as a result, do not generate the same dramatic outcomes. They work very well at removing temporary stains on the teeth but fail to penetrate the tooth enamel to bleach the more permanent stains under the tooth’s surface.

What Can Patients Expect from Teeth Whitening?

The professional teeth whitening process drastically improves teeth discoloration by up to six shades whiter in just one treatment. This is much quicker and much more effective than over the counter treatments. Depending on how bad the initial stains are, it’s possible that more than one treatment will be needed to reach the desired outcome. After the treatments are completed, you can expect your teeth to be noticeably whiter.

The most common side effect experienced by patients is sensitivity in the teeth following the procedure. This mainly includes sensitivity to hot and cold beverages. However, this is only a temporary side effect and will lessen with time after the treatment. Your dentist can also recommend special toothpaste or mouthwash options that will help with the sensitivity.

Common Misconceptions About Teeth Whitening

The disadvantages associated with teeth whitening treatments are very minimal and almost always temporary. However, it’s important to discuss the process with your dentist so you know exactly what to expect. Many people have misconceptions about teeth whitening that prevent them from benefiting from the treatments, but a simple conversation with your dentist can easily clear things up. Common questions we hear from patients include:

  1. Will the whitening treatment bleach the whole mouth?
    The chemicals used in teeth whitening treatments will only bleach the actual teeth. This means other dental work, such as crowns, fillings, and veneers, will not change in color or be damaged by the whitening gel. Also, your gums, tongue, and mouth will not be affected due to a protective barrier applied by the dentist.
  2. Are the chemicals dangerous?
    Carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide, the chemicals used to whiten teeth, are not toxic to the body so there is no risk when applied to the surface of the teeth. Each patient is carefully monitored during the whitening process so there is no risk of misuse.
  3. Are the results of the whitening procedure permanent?
    No, the results of the treatment are not permanent. However, by practicing routine oral hygiene, careful maintenance and avoiding things that can cause teeth staining, the effects of the whitening procedure will last a very long time.

What Causes Dental Discoloration?

Foods that will stain your teeth

There are several reasons why teeth can become discolored, but some are more avoidable than others. Some common causes include:

  • Food and drinks with heavy coloring or pigmentation. Soda, coffee, tea, wine and other substances can easily stain the teeth and should be avoided if you notice dental discolorations.
  • Acidic food and drinks. Anything that has a higher level of acid, such as citrus, has the ability to wear down the enamel of your teeth. This makes staining more likely when the protective layer of enamel is thinner or damaged.
  • Tobacco. Smoking is one of the biggest reasons teeth will become discolored. The tar and nicotine found in cigarettes are incredibly damaging to oral health. Other tobacco products will also stain the teeth with repeated use.
  • Side effects from medication. It’s been shown that certain antibiotics such as tetracycline and doxycycline will have a discoloring effect on teeth. Other medications have also been known to potentially darken the color of teeth. It’s important to understand all the side effect of any medications you’re taking so you know what to expect.
  • Natural aging. As your teeth age, the layer of enamel that protects your teeth will inevitably become thinner. This leads to discoloration and teeth picking up stains more easily.
  • Neglecting dental hygiene. Without proper brushing, flossing and routine dental cleanings, the health of your teeth will suffer. Plaque and tartar buildup, tooth decay and gum disease will lead to discoloration and other more severe oral problems.

Professional teeth whitening is a great option for patients looking to enhance their smile by brightening their teeth quickly and conveniently. The proven results of this procedure have allowed so many of our patients to approach life with the confidence only an exceptional smile can provide. Our dentists look forward to the opportunity to help you reach your best smile through our many professional services and treatment options at Reno’s Absolute Dental.

The staff was amazing! They were very kind, helpful, and patient. I would highly recommend coming here.

Diana L.

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