At Robert J. Mysse Family Dentistry, we want all of our patients to have beautiful, white teeth and a healthy smile. Sometimes regular brushing and cleaning still won’t remove the teeth stains that we all hate. But why does this happen? And what can a patient do if they need professional teeth whitening? Are there options? We’ve covered all of these questions in today’s blog article and we hope it will help anyone who is struggling with deciding if they should whiten their teeth or not. If you have any more questions, or would like to schedule a professional teeth whitening, you can call us at (512) 310-1500 to arrange an appointment.
What are Tooth Stains?
So you may be wondering what exactly are tooth stains? How do they come about? Why are your teeth not completely white even though your brush your teeth regularly?
Well, each of your teeth is made up of two layers. There’s the inner layer (the dentin layer) and a harder outer layer (better known as enamel) that protects the teeth. However, another layer can start to form – a layer of film. This layer is accumulated from all of the little things you eat, drink, or smoke.
When you get your teeth cleaned, a dentist can clean away this film, and even you can if you correctly brush your teeth. However, the longer this film sits on top of your enamel, the more likely it starts to sink into your enamel, creating a tooth stain. While this isn’t that harmful to your teeth, it can taint the color of your teeth.
How can you fix this? Currently, the only way to currently remove stains is to get your teeth professionally whitened.
How Does Professional Teeth Whitening Work?
Professional-grade whiteners are bleaching chemicals that break into the enamel and set off a chemical reaction that tears apart the stains at a molecular level (this is called an oxidation reaction).
At the office, we use one of two chemical agents (carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide), although we can also may use a particular professional whitening brand (Colgate’s Visible Whitening). This may either be a sit-down appointment or we may encourage a patient to take and use the whitener at home, depending on the patient’s needs. The whitening should last at least six months, although this depends on your diet and teeth.
What Happens Before and During Professional Teeth Whitening
Before the treatment, the dentist will clean the teeth, fill in cavities (if you have them), and make sure the patient’s gums are healthy.
The dentist will also gently clean the patient’s teeth with pumice and place a protective barrier on the patient’s gums. Then the dentist will start the procedure by placing a hydrogen peroxide paste on the patient’s teeth – this is repeated throughout the teeth whitening process. These hydrogen peroxide pastes are typically used in conjunction with a high-intensity light that will hasten the chemical reaction. After a 40 minute treatment, a patient’s teeth can be four to six shades whiter than they were when they started.
Professional At-Home Whitening
If a patient is prescribed an at-home whitening treatment program instead or in addition to the 40 minute in-office session then they should know what to expect from the experience. First, the dentist will take impressions/molds of the patient’s mouth and will have mouth trays made.
When administering the treatment at-home the patient will place a thin ribbon of gel into the mouth tray and wear the tray for two hours during the day or while sleeping. The gel will contain a 10 to 20 percent carbamide peroxide treatment which will whiten the patient’s teeth. Most at-home whitening occurs over a two week period although if a patient’s teeth are badly stained it could be necessary for their professional teeth whitening to last up to six weeks. If a patient chooses to do both at-home and in-office systems then they can achieve up to 15 shades of whitening on their teeth!
Call us for an appointment if you have any questions or if you’re interested in having your teeth professionally whitened. We can clean your teeth and decide what professional teeth whitening options would be best for your smile, whether that’s an at-home treatment, an in-office treatment, or both! Call Robert J. Mysse Family Dentistry at (512) 310-1500 to arrange an appointment today.