Teeth Whitening – Creating a Brighter, Whiter Smile
Professional Teeth Whitening is a procedure that is designed to effectively lighten the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of your tooth structure. When done correctly, teeth whitening will not harm your teeth or gums and in the majority of cases, it will significantly lighten the colour of your teeth. Whitening, like any treatment, has some inherent risks and limitations. These are seldom serious enough to discourage you from treatment, but should be considered in making your decision.
At Dentique Dental Spa we offer cosmetic dental services and smile makeover procedures and cosmetic dental services such as Zoom in chair teeth whitening that can brighten your smile.
Who is a Candidate for Teeth Whitening?
Almost anyone is a candidate for whitening, however we do recommend it for patients over 18 years of age, and healthy individuals that do not have any medical conditions that may contraindicate teeth whitening.
In general people with dark yellow or yellowish-brown teeth tend to whiten better than people with grey or bluish-grey teeth. Multi-coloured teeth, especially if stained due to tetracycline, do not whiten as well and may need additional treatment options.
Remember that professional teeth whitening products will not whiten fillings and crowns. Teeth with many fillings, cavities and other types of restorations, are usually best treated by bonding, porcelain veneers or crowns.
At Dentique Dental Spa we offer a number of options to achieve a beautiful white smile including cosmetic dental services such as Home Teeth Whitening, Zoom Teeth Whitening , Bonding, Porcelain Veneers and Porcelain Crowns.
In order to achieve the best results, we need to understand what is causing the discoloration of your teeth in the first place, so that we may appropriately address the issue with the correct treatment option.
What Cause Tooth Discoloration and How is it Best Treated?
There are three main types of tooth discoloration:
- Extrinsic (external) — This occurs when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained. Coffee, tea, red wine, cola or other drinks or foods can stain teeth. Smoking also causes extrinsic stains. Treatment for this type of Discoloration is Scaling and Cleaning to remove the staining.
If after this treatment teeth are still discolored then we are dealing with:
- Intrinsic (internal)— This is when the inner structure of the tooth (the dentin) darkens or gets a yellow tint (yellow or grey teeth). You can get this type of discoloration if:
- Your mother used tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy.
- You used tetracycline antibiotics when you were 8 years old or younger.
- You had trauma that affected a tooth when you were a young child.A fall, for example, may damage the developing permanent tooth.
- You had trauma in a permanent tooth, and internal bleeding discolored the tooth.
- You were born with a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta. This causes gray, amber or purple discolorations.
- You had too much exposure to fluoride during early childhood.
- Your teeth are congenitally a dark color.
- Age-related — This is a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Dentin naturally yellows over time. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which allows the dentin to show through. Foods and smoking also can stain teeth, as people get older. Finally, chips or other injuries can discolor a tooth, especially when the pulp has been damaged. Treatment for this type of discoloration is regular Hygiene Maintenance with 6 monthly Scale and Clean visits and Whitening for Life…with Home Whitening or yearly Zoom Whitening maintenance.
How Does Tooth Whitening Work?
Intrinsic whitening is based on the chemistry of the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) or the carbamide peroxide (CH6N203) in the whitening gel, and it involves penetrating through the tooth enamel to bleach the inner part of your tooth called dentine. The whiter bleached dentine will be reflected through your enamel and the tooth is permanently made lighter by this process. This is the true tooth whitening procedure and it is important to realize that in order for the bleaching to occur, a certain percentage of the peroxide needs to be present to effectively whiten the dentine. Only a dental professional can use the higher concentrations, as these whitening products, are regulated by the Australian law.
Extrinsic whitening addresses the stains on top of the enamel, and is most efficient when the problem exists such as in the case of staining by tobacco, coffee, tea or other substances. This is not true “teeth whitening”’ as the teeth are not permanently whitened. The enamel surface is cleaned to appear cleaner, free of any stains and therefore “whiter”.
Whitening toothpastes remove the staining on the tooth enamel and do not actually whiten the teeth via the bleaching process.
Teeth Whitening Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What Is Better: In-Chair or Home Teeth Whitening?
A: The answer depends on your situation. Please read our blog What Is Better: In-Chair or Home Teeth Whitening? for more information.
Q: Is it safe? Are there any side effects?
A: Professional Teeth Whitening procedures are safe and approved by the Australian Dental Association. There are certain temporary side effects that are explained in detail in our blog Is tooth whitening safe? Are there any side effects?
Q: What are the benefits of teeth whitening with a dental professional?
A: It is much safer to have a dentist do your teeth whitening treatment (especially the in-office whitening) rather than in a non-dental professional environment, as we can protect your gums and other tissues such as cheeks and lips from being burned.
In addition, the results are far superior as teeth whitening products containing concentrations of 6% hydrogen peroxide or 18% carbamide peroxide and/or higher, can only be dispensed by registered dental practitioners. To find out more about this read our blog Why should I have teeth whitening at the dentist? Do the ‘over the counter’ products work?
Q: Can I whiten the fillings and crowns?
A: No, unfortunately porcelain crowns, veneers and fillings like composite restorations will not be whitened by any whitening procedures. These will need to be replaced with a whiter colored restorative or filling material after you have completed the teeth whitening procedure for the rest of your teeth.
Q: Is Teeth Whitening safe during pregnancy?
A: Not enough research has been done on this and therefore it is not recommended to use teeth whitening products during pregnancy.
Q: Do I need an examination and clean prior to the Teeth Whitening Treatment?
A: The Home Teeth Whitening or the ZOOM In-Office Whitening procedures are professional teeth whitening products of varying concentrations of Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide and are required to be done under the supervision of a dentist. A full examination with our dentist is necessary prior to this procedure to prevent any complications, adverse reactions or sensitivity or any other problems that may arise during the Teeth Whitening procedures. The examination usually includes a clinical evaluation and check up of all the hard and soft tissues as well as clinical radiographic and photographic records as needed.
For best results, it is strongly recommended to have the teeth free of pre-existing staining, as since extrinsic staining may be the cause of most of the discoloration, the treatment of choice for this type of discoloration is the professional scaling and cleaning. However, should there also be intrinsic discoloration present, then the tartar or plaque on your teeth will prevent the whitening gel from entering the tooth structure and will not be effective at bleaching the inner part of your teeth. Therefore, a professional scale and clean prior to the Tooth Whitening procedure, will maximize and improve your teeth whitening results. Please note that should there be any disease present, such as cavities or gingivitis, these will need to be addressed first, and our dentist may not proceed with prescribing teeth whitening treatments until the other issues have been addressed.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Furlan, call our office or use our online appointment request form.