As dental patients in Temecula, CA, recognize, your smile matters a lot. A beautiful smile can make a person happier and more confident, not to mention more attractive to others. At K. Pat Brown, DDS, we recognize the importance of your smile, and, more importantly, we have a neat way to make your smile shine. How? Through teeth whitening!
Teeth whitening, whether at home via store-bought sets or in office with more sophisticated equipment, is one of the most common cosmetic procedures nationwide, and more and more people are requesting the treatment. If you’re ever looking to make your smile shine brighter, consider asking your K. Pat Brown, DDS, dentist about a teeth whitening treatment!
Why Might I Need Teeth Whitening?
As the name implies, teeth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that involves the careful bleaching of the teeth. While hypothetically any patient can benefit from the procedure, it is typically reserved for cases of tooth discoloration that are severe enough to merit professional treatment. There’s enough stigma in society for people to hide evidence of stained teeth, and whitening offers an easy way out with a quick and simple fix to the solution.
Discoloration can happen for many different reasons. Staining of the teeth can come from natural and artificial sources, and knowing how to prevent staining can help you treat the problem before it begins.
In general, the most common causes of tooth discoloration include the following:
- Consumption of some foods and drinks: Have you ever noticed your teeth becoming darker after eating and drinking? This is because some of the food and drink we ingest have teeth-staining dyes in them. For example, coffee, tea, red wines, tomato-based sauces, and others can all stain the teeth because of natural chemicals that instinctively bond to white surfaces in your mouth. Minimizing how much you drink and brushing your teeth carefully afterwards can prevent the worst effects of food-based stains.
- Consumption of some medications: That medicines have side effects is no surprise, but did you know that these side effects can apply to the teeth as well? In fact, some common drugs like tetracycline (a type of antibiotic) and high blood pressure medications can cause the teeth to darken over time. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should stop taking your medicine, but it does mean that you need to be especially careful with your teeth.
- Physical trauma: Just like your skin can bruise from a blow, your teeth can darken after an injury. The biological processes involved might not be entirely the same, but the concept is similar. It’s not always possible to prevent dental injuries — you never know when an emergency might hit — but doing your best to protect your teeth is a good general habit to get into.
- Smoking: You might’ve noticed that smokers often have yellow and even brown teeth. Both the tar and nicotine in tobacco have staining effects. Yet another reason to quit smoking!
- Age: As people grow older, their teeth reflect the change by darkening in color. Age can combine with some of the other contributing factors above to stain teeth.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
If you’re unhappy with any staining in your teeth and want a professional treatment, the first thing you have to do is ask your dentist if the procedure is right for you. While teeth whitening is a relatively straightforward procedure, some patients, like those who have a history of sensitive teeth and gums, might find the process too much to handle.
If it is determined that you’d be a good candidate for tooth whitening, your dentist will carefully prepare your teeth by cleaning them much like a regular cleaning. The process gets rid of any plaque on the teeth while making sure there are no underlying diseases that could negatively affect the procedure. A hardening resin is then carefully applied to the gums to protect them from the effects of the whitening process.
After making sure your gums will be safe, the dentist will apply a special hydrogen peroxide gel to the teeth — twice! Depending on your need, the gel will be left on for anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to allow the chemical to reach its full potential. Once both applications are finished, you’re done — the procedure is that simple!
If you’ve been dissatisfied with how your teeth look, you should schedule an appointment with a K. Pat Brown, DDS, dentist today to see if teeth whitening would be a good option in your case. Just call (951) 695-6269 or visit our website to contact our office today!