Teeth may lose their shine and whiteness even if people keep up with a healthy oral regime. This can lower their self-confidence and make them hesitant in breaking a smile. A survey conducted by the American Association of Orthodontists revealed that almost 90% of the patients involved in the campaign requested a tooth whitening procedure to be conducted on them. Tooth whitening is a simple and popular cosmetic procedure which can effectively lighten the color of a patient’s teeth. The procedure helps in stain removal and counter discoloration of teeth.
Why do teeth lose their color?
Enamel, the outermost layer of the teeth, imparts the white coloration to the teeth when light falls on it and scatters. Dentin, a hard bony tissue, found under the enamel contributes to the visual appearance of the teeth as well. Varying thickness and smoothness of enamel interferes with the reflection of the light and impacts the appearance of the teeth. The formation of a thin protein layer known as pellicle on the enamel allows development of stains on the teeth. Pellicle formation starts soon after teeth are cleaned and immediately after chewing on any food products. Further, the tooth enamel has small pores which can aid in stain formation.
The natural condition can be aggravated because of the following reasons which, in turn, accelerate discoloration and stain formation:
- Tobacco use: Nicotine and tar found in tobacco can cause the formation of stains on a person’s teeth. While tar is naturally dark, nicotine reacts with oxygen to form a yellowish layer on the teeth.
- Consumption of dark-colored drinks: Coffee, tea, and red wine is rich in chromogens which are intense color pigments that easily stick to the tooth enamel and stain it.
- Age: Tooth enamel thickness can diminish over time exposing the yellow colored dentin.
- Injury or trauma: The natural reaction of the body after an injury to the teeth is the production of dentin in excess which is darker in color and can be the key cause behind teeth discoloration.
- Medicine: Darkening of teeth can occur due to side effects from the consumption of antibiotics, antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, and antipsychotics.
What is the tooth whitening procedure?
The success of the tooth whitening procedure depends on the state of a patient’s teeth and gums. For instance, cavities can allow the whitening solution to reach the inner parts of a tooth which may make the other teeth sensitive. Further, tooth decay exposes the roots of your teeth which appears discolored or yellow. The procedure cannot be used to whiten the roots of the teeth which will continue to appear discolored and yellowish.
There are three different options available for patients to choose from:
Before the beginning of the procedure, the dentist may take a picture of the patient’s teeth to monitor the progress of the procedure. The procedure is usually completed in a single visit to the dentist during which the dentist applies a bleaching agent to whiten the teeth. A rubber shield or protective gel is generally used to protect the gums from the bleaching agent.
If a patient is more comfortable in opting for the procedure at home in the presence of a dentist they can do so by choosing at-home bleaching. In this procedure, the dentist provides the patient with trays holding the whitening gel and gives specific instruction about how to apply it on the teeth and for how long. The process requires a patient to apply the whitening gel over a fixed period of time which can span from a few days to weeks.
We, at LaCanne Family Dental, Menominee, provide for all your needs pertaining to dental services and routine exams. Our dentists with their entire team persist to present you with exceptional treatment that enhances and maintains the beauty of your smile.
If you have any further question, queries or dental emergencies and are looking for an accomplished dentist, feel free to contact us at (906) 352-4100 to schedule an appointment.