Having a bright white smile is considered ideal. If you have dull or discolored teeth, it can cause you to be self-conscious about your smile. That can affect the way you present yourself to the world.
The good news is that teeth whitening can give you a bright, white smile that you will be happy to show the world.
Why do teeth become dull or discolored?
Most people start out with white teeth as children. With decent dental care, those teeth remain white and bright. However, as people age, their teeth can take on a dull, yellowish hue. That is actually part of the natural wear and tear the teeth take.
The white enamel layer of the teeth begins to thin as you age. Eventually, it starts to become transparent. That is when the dull yellowish hue of the underlying dentin starts to come through. As the enamel wears down even further, the yellowish color becomes more and more prominent.
Besides the natural thinning of enamel, there are other causes of discoloration. They can be on the surface of the teeth or coming from within.
The stains that are on the surface of the teeth usually come from drinking dark beverages and foods, as well as using tobacco products. Most of the time these extrinsic stains are easily removed with routine brushing and regular visits to the dental hygienist. However, some stains are more stubborn and require extra steps like teeth whitening.
The stains that come from within the tooth can happen due to trauma, exposure to certain minerals, or taking in too much fluoride. In the past, these intrinsic stains were almost impossible to remove. However, in many cases, modern whitening products can tackle even these kinds of stains.
How does teeth whitening work?
In-office whitening involves making a visit to the dentist to have the whitening procedure done. The dentist will apply a highly-concentrated peroxide gel carefully to the teeth. The gel stays on the teeth for up to 20 minutes. This procedure can give you dramatic color changes in just a short amount of time. The dentist may recommend more than one treatment if the discoloration is persistent.
Take-home teeth whitening kits can give you the same results over a longer period. The kits include a concentrated peroxide gel that you apply to the teeth using mouth guards. You let it remain in place for an hour or more. These kits cost less than the in-office treatment.