Tooth Whitening (Bleaching) for a Youthful Smile
We all love radiant smiles. Literally all of us find them engaging. Each of us wants to have one too. That’s why tooth whitening is one of the most sought after treatments for enhancing smiles. Encino, LA Tooth Whitening Dentist Dr. Isaac Comfortes offers simple, affordable—yet custom, tooth whitening treatments that you can perform in the comfort of your home.
Understanding the Reasons for Dental Stains
Dental stains are a universal problem, though they affect some people more than others. The causes of discoloration include:
- Food and drink: The most common cause of dental stains is foods and beverages with dark-colored chromogens, for example, red wine, tea, coffee, tomatoes, soy sauce, and berries. Tooth whitening can eliminate these stains.
- Tobacco use: Smoking and chewing tobacco leave dark yellow or brownish stains on teeth. Tobacco also increases the risk for oral cancer. Teeth whitening is a way to reduce these stains.
- Fluorosis: If you were exposed to too much fluoride during childhood, you may suffer from fluorosis. This condition can cause dark brown or yellow stains, as well as grooves and other irregularities in the surfaces of some of your teeth. Fortunately, composite bonding or porcelain veneers can be applied to change the color of the affected teeth and match them with your unaffected teeth after they have been whitened.
- Medications: If you took a medicine containing tetracycline when you were a child, it may have left you with dramatic internal stains. This is a case where simple whitening will not have the desired results. Porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns can be applied to change the color of your teeth and give you the confident smile you crave.
- Dental infection: An infected tooth or a dead dental root may lend a dark hue to the inside of your tooth. In this case, composite bonding, a porcelain veneer, or a porcelain crown can be applied to change the color of the tooth and match it with your other teeth after they have been whitened.
How Does Tooth Whitening Work?
When you decide to lighten your smile, we will make impressions of your teeth and fabricate custom whitening trays that fit closely around your teeth to maximize their exposure to the whitening gel and also protect your delicate gum tissue. Dr. Comfortes will provide you with the gel he thinks will be best for your treatment. If you have dental sensitivity, a gentle whitening gel can be used that should cause minimal discomfort. We will explain how to put the gel in your trays and provide instructions for wearing your trays.
Oxygen in the peroxide gel will travel through your dental enamel, breaking apart the bonds between stained molecules. For optimal results, we typically recommend wearing trays 30 minutes a day for two weeks. However, the exact duration of your treatment will depend on the degree of discoloration and your response to whitening.
Maintaining Your Brighter Smile
Although tooth whitening can remove dental discoloration, the treatment will not prevent stains from returning. You will want to do periodic touch-ups using your custom trays. Our office can supply the whitening gel when you need a fresh supply. Typically, we recommend touch-ups every six months, but this will differ for each patient.
Teeth whitening is not a replacement for good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings. The teeth cleanings done in our office by our registered dental hygienist remove the build up of bacterial plaque on your teeth at and below the gum line. This treatment is essential for maintaining optimal oral health. Professional teeth cleaning as needed will also help reduce staining and discoloration caused by certain foods and beverages. When you combine at home hygiene efforts, tooth whitening, and regular cleanings in our office, your smile can be maintained at a lighter, bright shade of youth with healthy tooth enamel.
Ask Us about Tooth Whitening
Thanks to teeth whitening, you could enjoy a significantly brighter smile very soon. Schedule an appointment to ask us about it at your next dental visit.