What is Teeth Whitening: Everything You Need To Know

what is teeth whitening

Maintaining a bright smile as we age can be a challenge, despite regular brushing and dental check-ups. If you’re looking to preserve that sparkling white smile for life, teeth whitening might be the solution you’re seeking.

Whether you’re aiming for a radiant smile in photos or simply wanting to boost your everyday appearance, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about professional teeth whitening.

What to Know About Teeth Whitening

Taking care of your teeth involves more than just brushing and flossing. Regular dental cleanings play a crucial role too. While teeth whitening isn’t essential, it can enhance your smile and boost your confidence. After all, no one wants to display discolored teeth.

At-home whitening products are a popular choice, offering affordable and decent results. However, if you’re seeking a longer-lasting whitening solution and are willing to invest a bit more, professional whitening procedures can deliver excellent results.

What Is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is a standard dental procedure to brighten teeth and remove stains or discoloration. It’s a popular choice as it significantly boosts the look of your hair. Remember, though, that teeth whitening isn’t a one-and-done deal. If you want to maintain a bright, white smile, you’ll need to get repeat treatments regularly.

Dental Facts About Teeth Whitening

Explore the following dental facts to gain insight into the world of teeth whitening. Whether you’re considering brightening your smile or simply curious about the process,check out these seven facts that will provide valuable information to help you make informed decisions regarding your dental care

Teeth Whitening: Not Suitable for Everyone

Teeth whitening can be effective, but it may not suit everyone. Consult your dentist for an eligibility exam. Deep enamel stains or oral problems like gum disease or cavities require alternative treatments like veneers, bonding, or crowns.

Safety of Teeth Whitening

When done correctly, teeth whitening is safe. Opt for an in-office treatment or a dentist-supplied at-home kit and follow the directions.

Maintaining Whitening Results

Whitening results are temporary, lasting from six months to three years. Avoid staining habits and limit pigmented foods and drinks to maintain a brightened smile. Ask your dentist about whitening toothpaste for home use.

Whitening Limitations on Dental Restorations

Teeth whitening is less effective on dental restorations such as crowns, veneers, and fillings. Unlike natural teeth, these restorations lack pores, making removing stains difficult for bleaching agents. You may need to replace stained restorations to achieve a uniform, bright smile. 

Time Required for Teeth Whitening

For minor stains, one in-office treatment might be enough, but deeper stains, such as those brought on by too much fluoride as a child, may require several treatments or even weeks to get the desired effects. For teeth whitening to be successful, patience is necessary.

Teeth Can Absorb Stains

Teeth are like sponges and have pores that can soak up the color of anything in our mouths. Tobacco, coffee, dark berries, and red wine are the top culprits for causing stains. Over time, these can darken the natural color of your teeth. If you don’t take action, these stains might stay put permanently.

Whitening is Gentle on Teeth

Just like excessive brushing can be harmful, going overboard with anything isn’t good. However, professional teeth whitening is generally safe. After whitening, teeth naturally rebuild their mineral content and rehydrate.

Temporary Sensitivity is Expected

Feeling some sensitivity during whitening treatments is quite normal. This happens because teeth can become dehydrated during whitening, which reduces their ability to insulate the nerve from hot or cold temperatures. This sensitivity should ease off between 12 to 36 hours after the treatment.

Reasons Behind Teeth Discoloration

teeth discoloration

Several factors can result in teeth appearing more yellow or darker. While some of these can be averted, others might be unavoidable. Below are a few common causes of tooth discoloration.

Food and Drinks

The food and drinks you consume impact your teeth’s appearance. Not only the color but also the pH levels of the food are essential. Avoiding acidic foods and beverages could help maintain a brighter smile and preserve the thickness of your enamel.

Aging

Aging is a factor we can’t control, but trying to keep our enamel strong can help counter the yellowing of teeth that comes with time. Tooth enamel gradually wears away as we age, revealing the dentin underneath. As a result, your teeth might appear more yellow as you get older.

Medications

Certain medications, like antidepressants, antihistamines, antihypertensives, and antipsychotics, can lead to tooth staining. Drugs, such as tetracycline and some other antibiotics known to affect tooth development, should not be used by pregnant women or young children. 

Treatments like head and neck radiation and chemotherapy can also affect your enamel similarly. Certain mouthwashes containing cetylpyridinium chloride or chlorhexidine may also result in tooth stains.

Tobacco

All forms of tobacco contain black particles, which can build up as visible stains on teeth. Smoking induces dry mouth, which enhances the adherence of tobacco particles to enamel, speeding up staining.

Trauma

Dental traumas or emergencies, like falling, chipping, or other tooth injuries, can result in tooth discoloration and enamel damage.

Potential Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a popular way to boost your smile. But, just like any treatment, there might be some side effects.

Tooth Sensitivity

This is a common side effect of whitening. It may lead to a bit of pain or severe discomfort. However, a professional dentist can help manage it, and avoiding hot or cold food after the treatment can also help.

Upset Stomach

In rare cases, teeth whitening could lead to an upset stomach, typically from swallowing bleaching agents during the treatment. If you experience an upset stomach after whitening, drink plenty of fluids and eat bland foods to help settle your stomach.

Rough Teeth

Teeth whitening may cause your teeth to feel rough occasionally. This often occurs when the bleaching agents are left on the teeth for too long.

Gum Irritation

Another common issue, especially with at-home kits, is that careful application and a dentist-customized tray can cut down on irritation risks.

Enamel Damage

If not applied correctly, whitening procedures might harm enamel. Dentists can provide advice on safe teeth-whitening techniques that won’t damage your enamel.

Consult your dentist prior to receiving any teeth-whitening procedures. They can advise you on the safest practices and any possible negative consequences. Also, keep in mind that maintaining proper dental hygiene can extend the benefits of teeth whitening.

Avoid stain-causing foods and beverages for a few days following the procedure. You can maintain your teeth’s whiteness and general health by brushing and flossing twice a day, scheduling frequent dental checkups, and practicing good oral hygiene.

Get Professional Teeth Whitening In Hacienda Heights

hacienda teeth whitening

Get ready for a brighter smile with professional teeth whitening at Hacienda Dentistry in Hacienda Heights, CA. Our experienced team focuses on safety and optimal results while prioritizing your oral health. Contact us today at (626) 330-4548 or book online to achieve a naturally radiant smile!