Have you been dreaming of a bright, white smile? Are your teeth showing signs of discoloration and yellowing? Are your teeth beginning to show your age? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Golsen Family Dentistry is here to help. As part of our Alpharetta cosmetic dentistry services, we provide professional teeth whitening in office or as a take home kit. Both teeth whitening treatment methods are effective and safe, and we guarantee you will see a difference in your smile.
At Golsen Family Dentistry in Alpharetta, we offer the latest and greatest method called Zoom Teeth Whitening. This method is performed in office by our team and offers the most dramatic and immediate results. The procedure is fairly quick, typically taking less than an hour to complete. Zoom! uses a concentrated hydrogen peroxide whitening gel that is applied directly to the teeth. A special light is used to accelerate the effectiveness of the gel, giving you a smile that is up to 8 shade whiter. Our patients highly recommend this treatment!
For our patients who would prefer to gradually whiten their smile, we offer a teeth whitening kit that can be done at home. The treatment takes about two weeks to see a brighter smile. We can also fine tune the number of applications to give you the whitest smile possible.
Brushing and flossing are regular ways to keep your teeth bright, white and in good condition. Still, if you might think your smile is lacking some radiance or is more yellow than it used to be, you’re not alone. When the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked people what they ‘d most like to improve about their smile, the most common reply was whiter teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists also found that nearly 90% of patients asked for tooth whitening.
Considering teeth whitening? Get the facts first. Here are five of the most commonly asked questions about the process.
Why Did My Teeth Change Color?
With time, your teeth can go from white to not-so-bright for a lot of reasons:
Food and Drink
Coffee, tea and red wine are some major staining offenders. What do they share? Intense color pigments called chromogens that affix to the white, outer part of your tooth (enamel).
Two chemicals found in tobacco create persistent stains: Tar and nicotine. Tar is naturally dark. Nicotine is colorless until it’s mixed with oxygen. Then, it turns into a yellowish or golden-tinged, surface-staining substance.
Below the hard, white outer shell of your teeth (enamel) is a softer area called dentin. In time, the outer enamel layer gets thin with brushing and more of the yellow-colored dentin shows through.
If you’ve been hit in the mouth, your tooth may alter color because it reacts to an injury by laying down more dentin, which is a darker layer under the enamel.
Tooth darkening can be a side effect of certain antihistamines, antipsychotics and hypertension medications. Children who are exposed to antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline when their teeth are forming (either in the womb or as a baby) may have discoloration of their adult teeth later in life. Chemotherapy and head and neck radiation can also dye teeth.
Teeth whitening is a simple process. Whitening products contain one of two tooth bleaches (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide). These bleaches break stains into smaller sized pieces, which makes the color less strong and your teeth brighter.
Does Whitening Work on All Teeth?
No, which is why it’s important to talk to your dentist before deciding to whiten your teeth, as whiteners may not correct all varieties of discoloration. For example, yellow teeth will probably bleach well, brown teeth may not respond as well and teeth with gray tones may not bleach at all. Whitening will not work on caps, veneers, root canals, crowns or fillings. It also won’t be striking if your tooth discoloration is caused by medications or a tooth injury.
Consult with your dentist before beginning. If you are a candidate, there are four ways to put the sparkle back in your smile:
Stain Removal Toothpastes
All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives that scrub the teeth. Look for whitening toothpastes that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance for stain removal (it will tell you on the package). These toothpastes have additional polishing agents that are safe for your teeth and provide stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these types of ADA-Accepted products do not improve the color of teeth because they can only remove stains on the surface.
This procedure is called chairside bleaching and normally requires a single office visit. The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect your gums. Bleach is then applied to the teeth.
At-Home Bleaching from Your Dentist
Your dentist can possibly provide you with a custom-made tray for at-home whitening. In this case, the dentist will give you guidance on how to place the bleaching solution in the tray and for what period of time. This may be a preferred option if you feel more comfortable whitening in your own home at a slower pace, but still with the advice of a dentist. Out-of-office bleaching can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Over-the-Counter Bleaching Products
You may see different options online or in your local food store, such as toothpastes or strips that whiten by bleaching your teeth. The concentration of the bleaching agent in these products is below what your dentist would use in the office. If you are thinking about using an otc bleaching kit, talk about options with your dentist and look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. That signifies it has been tested to be harmless and effective for teeth whitening. Get a list of all ADA-Accepted at-home bleaching products.
Are There Any Negative Side Effects from Teeth Whitening?
Some people who use teeth whiteners may experience tooth sensitivity. That happens when the peroxide in the whitener makes it through the enamel to the soft layer of dentin and irritates the nerve of your tooth. In most cases the sensitivity is temporary. You can delay treatment, then try again.
Excessive use of whiteners can also damage the tooth enamel or gums, so be sure to follow directions and consult with your dentist. Proper dental care and dental hygiene are always important.