Teeth whitening has become one of the most popular options in cosmetic dentistry, valued by both women and men for its economical smile boost and convenience. While teeth whitening is generally very safe, it is human nature, to take a good thing a little too far. Dr. Gordon Kent, the dentist patients throughout the Buffalo area trust for good advice and great dental care, shares these tips on sensible teeth whitening.
Causes of discoloration
The strong enamel of permanent teeth is composed of microscopic crystalline rods that protect tooth structure from bite force and acidic erosion. Most people have very white adult teeth initially. Enamel thins over time, though, allowing yellowish dentin to show through.
Years of biting and chewing create millions of tiny cracks in enamel. Even with good home hygiene, these cracks and the minute spaces between the crystalline rods fill with pigment and debris from foods, beverages, and tobacco. Teeth loose natural luster and become dingy, grayed, or yellowish.
In addition to those extrinsic stains, teeth may develop intrinsic stains. This type of discoloration forms on the interior of teeth, usually from medications or trauma. Ingesting too much fluoride while teeth are forming can also result in intrinsic stains.
Routine dental cleaning appointments help to eliminate extrinsic stains, and properly administered professional teeth whitening successfully addresses both types of discoloration.
How white is too white?
You hear the jokes in sit-coms and see them on social media – appliance white, Ty-D-Bol smile, Technicolor teeth. Those puns poke fun at individuals who whiten well past the natural brilliance of new adult teeth. The condition isn’t generally hazardous, but it can look artificial and cause temporary sensitivity. Dental restorations such as fillings, bondings, crowns, and veneers do not respond to whitening. If their shadings were selected to match natural dentition, they may stand out noticeably when teeth are over-whitened.
Dentists use a hand-held shade guide, typically incorporating 16 variations ranging from lightest to darkest, to gauge whiteness. Dr. Kent recommends two to seven shades lighter as a reasonable teeth whitening goal. In some extreme cases where teeth are extremely discolored before whitening, up to nine shades lighter can still look healthy and natural.
Attaining a natural white
Our society is fast paced, and in-office teeth whitening fills that need. However, this is a circumstance where a little patience pays big dividends. Using comfortable custom fit trays with professional strength NiteWhite bleaching gel produces gorgeous, long lasting results. You wear the trays for at least an hour a day (or over night if you prefer), until your teeth reach the desired shade of brightness – usually within two weeks.
You get careful usage instructions from The Smile Center team, and professional oversight throughout the whitening process. If you have concerns or questions, Dr. Kent is just a phone call or visit away.
Whitening is safe. Whitening is effective. Whitening is fun. But you only get one set of permanent teeth, so treat them right with professional care from Dr. Kent. Call The Smile Center today at to schedule an appointment.