As our dentists strive to provide the best care for our patients, we primarily try to focus on the necessary restorative treatments. Patients will present with a handful of cavities, and yet they will inquire, “how can I get whiter teeth?”
Dental whitening is one of the most commonly requested dental procedures. Patients will first inquire about which at-home treatments work best. We will always recommend that professionally administered whitening systems are the most beneficial and effective. Your dental team should create a whitening program for you. The first and most important step should involve patient education. Through this education, dentists can guide patients in having more realistic expectations from their whitening program.
Extrinsic and Intrinsic Stains
Typically, easier to remove, extrinsic stains are stains on the surface of the tooth that attach to the biofilm and enter the enamel matrix. This stain usually builds up over time and is a product of coffee/tea consumption, smoking, or certain foods.
Intrinsic stains are not only difficult to remove but lie deeper within the surface of a tooth. These stains could be caused by fluoride exposure, medications, and/or environmental factors like genetic or systemic conditions. It is the dental team’s responsibility to obtain the patient’s history to better understand the cause of staining.
The obvious benefits to an in-office whitening include a beautiful, brighter smile. Studies have shown that patients with brighter, whiter smiles are more motivated to maintain their oral health. The process is not only gratifying for the patient but also the dentist who enjoys restoring the patients’ confidence.
It is important to keep in mind that tooth and gum sensitivity can become an issue during the whitening process. Factors like the concentration of hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide directly affect tooth sensitivity. The higher the percentage of concentration of the bleaching agents, the more effective the whitening will be. However, the risk of the higher concentrations results in the increased chance of sensitivity to the teeth. Gingival barriers and retractors are used in chair-side whitening, to protect the soft tissues from the peroxides. What most do not know about teeth whitening is its ability to dehydrate your teeth. The teeth may appear to be whiter initially but have the potential to become darker in a few days after the teeth rehydrate. This is a common occurrence after using bleaching treatments that use UV light.
When it comes to any dental procedure, communication is key! Here at ProHEALTH Dental, we collaborate with you to get you the beautiful, healthy smile you deserve.