Teeth whitening works by applying a combination of bleach and hydrogen peroxide to the teeth to make them appear whiter and brighter. The first part of the process is where the dentist applies the bleaching solution directly to the teeth. This gel breaks down stains, giving them a lighter appearance. Once the first layer is used, a specialized light activates both solutions. The activated substances can move into the deeper layers of the teeth to whiten them from the inside. This process is repeated until the teeth are your desired shade of whiteness.
While at-home treatments are available, it is usually best to get your teeth professionally whitened to ensure an even level of whitening. At Eric A Lim DDS, our dentist will also examine your mouth for tooth decay or other signs of issues before whitening to ensure you do not have any underlying problems.
What Causes Teeth to Turn Yellow?
Unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking and taking certain medications can slowly cause your teeth to turn yellow over time. Poor oral hygiene and not brushing and flossing regularly can cause staining. Certain foods and drinks, including coffee, soda, wine, and dark berries, can also discolor your teeth.
The good news is that teeth whitening can help brighten your smile and remove stains from your teeth. Professional whitening often provides the fastest and most dramatic results because it uses a more potent bleaching gel than over-the-counter products. Plus, your dentist can discuss the best treatment for your needs. For example, some stains respond better to at-home treatments, while others require in-office whitening to achieve the best results.
Types of Teeth Whitening
Whitening can be accomplished through various methods, including professional in-office treatments, take-home kits, and over-the-counter products. Professional treatments are often the most robust and effective way to remove stains from your teeth. In-office procedures typically involve the application of either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to the teeth for an extended period. The ingredients in the gel penetrate the enamel and whiten the dentin beneath the surface. Another standard professional treatment is laser whitening. This is a fast procedure that can be completed in just one visit. A special light is used to activate the gel so that teeth can be whitened in just a few short minutes.
Take-home kits are worn over the teeth and work by placing a gel layer on the tooth surface. Over-the-counter products are weaker and must be applied twice daily for about two weeks to see noticeable results. These products are available without a doctor’s prescription but come in lower concentrations than professional solutions.
If you are self-conscious about the appearance of your smile due to discoloration, visit Eric A Lim DDS at 1624 Franklin St #300, Oakland 94612, or call (510) 893-2525 to consult our cosmetic dentist about your preferred treatment options.