Your smile and confidence suffer if your teeth are discolored. Teeth whitening, a standard cosmetic dental procedure, is a simple, quick, and affordable way to improve your smile and confidence. Teeth whitening can be done in various ways for men and women to suit their preferences, budgets, and schedules. For example, to achieve the desired results, you can have an hour-long teeth-whitening procedure carried out by a professional in a dental office, a spa, or even with whitening kits that you can use at home.

Those who have used teeth-whitening solutions report an improvement in the brightness and whiteness of their smiles, from moderate to noticeable. However, it is not a permanent solution for discolored teeth. Teeth whitening requires routine maintenance to provide a long-lasting effect.

Teeth whitening treatments entail a lot. You should speak with a skilled cosmetic dentist to find out the cause of tooth discoloration, your alternatives, the method, and what to expect after treatment. Our talented cosmetic dentists at Washington Dental are here to assist you if you need teeth whitening services in Lomita. To help you make an informed decision, we can provide all the information you require regarding teeth whitening methods.

Teeth Bleaching vs. Whitening

If your discolored teeth impair how you smile and interact with others, it could be time to consider a solution that will result in better-looking and healthier teeth. The two main choices you have are bleaching and tooth whitening.

Though less frequently used, tooth bleaching is needed when teeth must be whiter than their natural color. In this situation, the dentist will employ hydrogen peroxide and bleach, primarily carbamide.

However, the majority of people who have stained teeth desire to have them restored to their natural color. Because of this, tooth whitening is used more in cosmetic dentistry. Teeth whitening entails restoring the color of the stained tooth surface by removing dirt and debris that have accumulated on the teeth for months or years. Toothpaste and other teeth-whitening products are primarily used to clean discolored teeth.

Everyone has white, bright, and healthy teeth when they are young. A natural tooth has a robust, porcelain-like enamel that is all white. It comprises tiny crystalline rods that protect the teeth from hazardous substances like the acids in sugary foods and the detrimental effects of grinding and chewing. However, as a person ages, their enamel weakens and becomes transparent, revealing the tooth's inner yellow dentin.

When you eat, the enamel of your teeth undergoes millions of microscopic cracks, yet the dentin of your teeth is unaffected. The cracks and spaces between the crystal enamel rods of your teeth slowly fill with grime and discoloration. The final result is a depressing appearance and duller-looking teeth.

Thanks to the teeth whitening treatment, your teeth will be free of these stains and debris. Though it leaves the enamel cracks wide and exposed, your saliva can quickly remineralize these spaces. However, over time, inevitable cracks could become refilled with stains and grime. In the future, you will require another round of teeth-whitening treatment.

Tooth Discoloration

Your natural teeth could become discolored for various reasons, including the foods and beverages you consume. Discoloration of the teeth can be inherent or extrinsic.

Surface-level stains on your teeth are extrinsic. They grow due to exposure to foods, drinks, and other substances with a dark color, like tobacco. Some stains appear due to the teeth's enamel degrading over time. Regular tooth brushing and dental cleanings could help you remove minor surface stains on your teeth. Some stains are more tenacious and can penetrate the dentin. If you do not address them immediately, they become more ingrained and can necessitate tooth whitening treatment.

The internal surfaces of your teeth could be stained naturally. Age, excessive exposure to specific minerals during tooth growth, including tetracycline, swallowing too much fluoride, and trauma are possible causes. Even though intrinsic teeth stains are frequently challenging to remove, teeth whitening techniques can nonetheless remove them. Thanks to developments in cosmetic dentistry, even the most severe intrinsic stains on your teeth can now be removed within months. If the stains continue even after many months of treatment, your dentist can recommend additional aesthetic choices, like dental veneers, to enhance the look and feel of your teeth.

What Causes Discoloration in Teeth?

Several factors could cause stains on your teeth. These are the most common ones:

Discoloration Because of Aging

Age and tooth color often go hand in hand. As you age, your teeth become darker from stain accumulation and typical wear and tear. Typically, young children have beautiful, healthy teeth. However, the meals and drinks individuals consume impact their teeth as they age. You will obtain better results from teeth-whitening treatment while you are a teenager. But you will require more effort to maintain your tooth's whiteness as you age and your teeth become yellow.

When you reach the age of forty or more, the yellow cast turns into a brown tint, requiring much more upkeep. Older adults in their fifties or sixties have teeth that have accumulated more difficult-to-remove stains. However, even the most difficult stains can be removed using tooth-whitening products.

The Starting Color

When people are young, their teeth are a different color. Each youngster has a unique shade of white in their teeth. Our teeth are an inborn shade of yellow-brown to greenish-gray. As you get older, that color becomes stronger. Depending on their initial color, some teeth react to teeth whitening treatment better than others.

The Thinness and Translucency of Your Teeth

Your genetic makeup also influences how small or transparent your teeth appear. Some of these inherited traits develop more fully as you age. All teeth are transparent to some extent, but some appear to be thicker and more opaque. The lighter appearance and more sparkling color of these give them a stronger staining advantage. Compared to more translucent and thinner teeth, opaque and thicker teeth respond better to teeth whitening techniques.

Your Eating Habits

What you eat has a significant impact on how your teeth look. Your teeth will probably stain more if you are the type of person who consumes colorful beverages like coffee, tea, wine, and cola. People who consume colorful foods like oranges and carrots are also significantly impacted. Foods with color develop noticeable stains over time. Additionally, over time, the enamel is eroded by acidic foods like vinegar, fruits, and sugary foods. That exposes the tooth to more severe stains. An eroded enamel layer, which is more translucent and alters the appearance of your teeth, exposes the yellowish dentin.

Unhealthy Habits

Smoking is one of many destructive habits that stain teeth. Smoking and other tobacco products contain nicotine, which leaves brownish deposits on your teeth. These deposits seep into the structure of the teeth and cause severe intrinsic stains.

The enamel of the teeth could break due to other habits, like teeth grinding, bruxing, and gnashing, which is brought on by stress. These fissures eventually acquire stains, altering the appearance of your teeth.

Chemicals and Drugs

Tetracycline is one medication that impacts the color of the developing teeth. Your teeth can develop a brown or dark gray ribbon stain from tetracycline. That stain is challenging to remove with routine cleaning. Fluoride and other minerals can eventually stain your teeth if consumed in excess.

Trauma to the Teeth

Trauma could result from a fall or a tooth injury. Your teeth can become seriously damaged and form large cracks that, over time, gather dirt and stains.

Teeth Whitening Options

Teeth whitening attempts to make stained teeth look better. There are three primary teeth-whitening treatment options available in cosmetic dentistry. The peroxide concentration and application times of these options differ. To enable you to choose wisely, your dentist will outline what each of these alternatives entails:

In-Office Teeth whitening

It could be a fantastic solution for those looking to rapidly improve their teeth' color. During an office visit, a cosmetic dentist applies a concentrated peroxide gel. The dentist applies gel to your teeth. But a rubber dam is necessary to protect the gums when preparing for in-office teeth whitening.

The dentist will apply the peroxide to your teeth and leave it on for one hour at fifteen- and twenty-minute intervals. If your teeth are discolored, the dentist can suggest you return for one or more treatment sessions. They could also suggest home remedies, like regular brushing and flossing, to obtain the desired outcomes.

Professionally-Issued Home-Use Kits

Your dentist can advise you to buy teeth-whitening products at home to help you achieve the desired results. They do require more time to use than in-office treatment kits, though. Home-use kits have an easy-to-apply gel with a low peroxide level. You apply the gel at home and leave it on your teeth for an hour or overnight. The dentist will provide mouthguard-like, bespoke treatment trays. You will use those trays to apply the gel to your teeth. Because of the low peroxide concentration, these kits are safe and can be left on your teeth for several hours.

Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening Products

If you need a less expensive and more practical option, your dentist can recommend teeth-whitening products readily available over the counter. Store-bought teeth-whitening kits are less expensive. They are made up of application trays and a peroxide-free gel. You apply the gel to your teeth using the trays or applicators and let it sit there. Due to their lower peroxide levels, the gels in these kits are relatively safe. However, they are a great alternative if you only want to whiten a few of your front teeth rather than your entire smile.

What To Expect After Teeth-Whitening Treatment

For certain dental patients with stained or discolored teeth, teeth whitening can not work. When employing the same treatment choice, your results will differ from another person's. Even using kits from the shop, some people achieve immediate results. Others require more time to see the fantastic effects of in-office tooth whitening. The key deciding factor is the degree of staining or discoloration on your teeth.

It is good to consult your dentist about what to expect before beginning treatment. For peace of mind, having a realistic concept of your results and how long it can take to reach them is vital.

Risk Factors

In general, teeth whitening procedures are secure if you select a qualified cosmetic dentist or adhere to the instructions included with the kit. However, there can be some danger factors for which you need to be ready, like the following:

Tooth Sensitivity

Products for teeth whitening can temporarily make teeth more sensitive. You could become sensitive to pressure, warmth, and touch. Since they employ teeth whitening gels with higher peroxide levels, this is typical for most patients receiving in-office therapy.

After treatment, some patients report experiencing zingers or sudden shooting pains in the center of their front teeth. Patients with substantial tooth cracks, gum recession, or leakages from defective dental restorations are likely to experience sensitivity following teeth whitening.

However, post-whitening sensitivity is typically transient. In extremely uncommon circumstances, it could only last a few weeks. But mostly, it stays for one or two days. Your dentist can suggest a potassium nitrate toothpaste if you have sensitivity following treatment.

Gum Irritation

After teeth whitening, most people have gum irritation. It mainly occurs if you use peroxide-containing teeth whitening treatments. Depending on the amount of peroxide in the whitening kit, the irritation varies from patient to patient. Additionally, irritation can occur due to gum contact with the application trays. Gum inflammation is typical, but it only lasts a few days. Once the level of peroxide in your mouth drops, it will disappear.

Technicolor Teeth

Varied teeth whitening products will have varied effects on your teeth. The whitening products will not change the appearance of dental veneers, crowns, or bonding. When the surrounding natural teeth are changed, your dental restorations will keep their color. That leaves you with technicolor teeth.

Individuals Who Cannot Undergo Teeth Whitening Treatment

Not everyone can safely use whitening treatments for their teeth. Due to safety reasons, the following patients could be affected:

  • Those with sensitive teeth or gums.
  • Those with peroxide allergy.
  • Individuals with exposed pulp or dentine.
  • Those whose teeth have acid erosion.
  • Those whose enamel has developed improperly.
  • Patients whose gums are receding.
  • Mothers who are expecting or nursing.
  • Those who have extensive tooth decay.
  • Children that are under 16.

Other Points To Consider

Before undergoing teeth-whitening therapy, you should also keep the following points in mind:

  • You cannot achieve unnaturally dazzling teeth with teeth whitening. You must set realistic goals to minimize disappointment when you fail to obtain the anticipated outcomes.
  • Sometimes it takes several days or weeks of treatment before you see the effects of teeth whitening. Individual patients achieve positive outcomes at varying rates.
  • Wait a few weeks before choosing if you want dental restorations and would like your new restorations to match your whitened teeth.
  • You should wait a few weeks before having porcelain veneers, cosmetic bonding, or other dental restorations if they are a part of your therapy. Having them too soon following teeth whitening procedures could impact shade matching, adhesive bonding, and their function.
  • Consider changing your dental restorations after treatment if you are concerned about the technicolor impact following teeth whitening. Your dentist will match your new restorations to the new shade of your teeth.
  • Obtaining the best effects from teeth whitening could be challenging if you have receding gums. The yellowish root surface at your gum line will constantly be visible due to your receding gums. The yellowish hue is typically challenging to clean out.
  • If you are expecting a child or breastfeeding a baby, you can postpone teeth whitening treatment. If you consume some whitening gel while receiving treatment, there are unknown dangers to your unborn child or nursing infant.

Discussing some of your worries with your skilled cosmetic dentist could be helpful. Ask as many questions as possible to prepare your body and mind for the procedure and its outcomes.

How To Maintain Results After Teeth Whitening

Your smile and confidence will both increase with pearly white teeth. However, after the teeth-whitening procedure, you cannot guarantee lasting results. Your dentist will provide guidelines that could enable you to enjoy your whiter teeth for much longer. Some of these suggestions are:

Maintenance or Follow-up Whitening

Following a teeth whitening procedure, your dentist can advise maintenance teeth whitening or follow-up whitening that could be done once a year. That could help keep your teeth whiter for longer.

Changing Your Eating Patterns

Your dentist can suggest changing your eating and drinking habits if they think they are to blame for the stains on your teeth. For example, they can advise you to stop consuming coffee, tea, and other foods and beverages with color. Eat fewer meals that are high in sugar or acid. If you must drink an acidic or colored beverage, use a straw to reduce contact with your teeth.

Your dentist can also go over the dangers of smoking for your general health if it is one of the habits you need to break.

Developing Good Dental Habits

Proper dental hygiene can keep your teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and robust. It calls for at least twice daily tooth brushing and at least once daily flossing. It removes food debris lodged in your teeth that could combine with oral bacteria to produce cavities and other dangerous disorders like gingivitis. After every meal, brush your teeth to remove leftover food particles that could discolor your teeth.

How Expensive Are Teeth Whitening Services?

When looking for treatment for stained or discolored teeth, the cost of teeth whitening is a crucial issue to consider. Cosmetic dental work typically costs a lot of money. However, several factors affect how much teeth whitening will ultimately cost.

For example, your desired method of teeth whitening therapy will influence the price. Your dentist will recommend in-office whitening if you want tooth whitening results more quickly. Remember that it requires using a gel with a higher peroxide content. But a qualified cosmetic dentist manages and administers the therapy.

On your initial trip to the dentist, you could see some results. However, if your teeth are seriously discolored, your dentist could ask you to come back a few more times so that the procedure can be repeated. The most expensive alternative, in-office whitening, could yield speedier results. The use of store-bought teeth-whitening kits would be the least expensive treatment option.

How stained or discolored your teeth are will also affect how much your treatment will cost. Upon your initial dental visit, your dentist can remove minor stains. Using the kits for at-home teeth whitening, you can cure light stains at home. You will not pay more for these. However, purchasing more whitening kits or returning to the dentist's office for treatment more than once will be exceedingly expensive.

The cost of the procedure can also vary depending on the dentist you choose. Some cosmetic dentists demand a high fee for their services. You can contrast the costs of their treatments to identify a skilled cosmetic dentist who provides more affordable services. Remember that high-end dental care does not always equate to high-quality care. Do not focus just on the cost when making a decision. Think about a dentist's level of experience and expertise.

Find an Experienced Cosmetic Dentist Near Me

Consider teeth whitening if stained or discolored teeth compromise your smile or confidence. It is a cosmetic dental treatment that improves overall health and appearance. However, a lot goes into it. Because of this, you require the advice, guidance, and help of a skilled cosmetic dentist if you are searching for a cure for your stained or discolored teeth in Lomita.

Our knowledgeable cosmetic dentists at Washington Dental have the information you need to make an informed decision. We will review the causes, available treatments, possible side effects, and chances of success for your discolored or stained teeth. Additionally, we will design a treatment plan to meet your individual needs. Call us at 310-326-5183 to learn more about teeth whitening and our services.