When it comes to teeth whitening today, there are options for just about every smile. Whether teeth have mild, superficial stains or deeper stains inside the structure of the tooth, the right teeth whitening method can eliminate the stains and transform the smile. Our cosmetic dentists offer a variety of teeth whitening options to help our patients get the smiles they want.
The Causes of Discolored Teeth
Most discoloration develops in one of two ways. First, enamel can thin over time due to acid erosion, aggressive brushing or age. As the enamel becomes thinner, it allows more of the darker underlying dentin layer to show through, and this makes teeth look dark and dingy. Second, foods and drinks can also stain teeth. Microscopic cracks in the enamel allow color-depositing substances to pass through, and the stains can penetrate deep into the enamel where brushing cannot reach. Common staining substances include coffee, wine, tea and nicotine.
Teeth can also become discolored due to internal factors. Called intrinsic stains, these factors can include medicine, excess fluoride consumption and dental trauma.
A whitening toothpaste typically contains abrasive substances designed to scrub away superficial stains. Used consistently, whitening toothpaste can help keep teeth brighter, but it cannot penetrate the enamel to break up the stains inside.
Over-the-counter whitening strips are a popular choice. The thin plastic sheets are coated with peroxide at attached to teeth daily for up to two weeks. They are convenient and easy to use, but they can only lighten teeth one or two shades.
Tray-Based Whitening Systems
These systems are professionally supervised, which means that patients can enjoy more customized results. The tray is typically fit to the patient’s teeth, and it is used with a prescription-strength whitening gel. Patients will wear the trays daily for one to three weeks. The process takes longer, but patients can enjoy a gradual lightening of five or more shades.
Laser Teeth Whitening
This in-office procedure offers the fastest, most effective results and is professionally administered. Our dentist applies the whitening gel directly to teeth and uses a special laser to activate the gel. This type of whitening can penetrate far into the enamel and break up even long-standing stains. After a single one-hour treatment, teeth can be up to eight to 10 shades lighter.
Contact our teeth whitening dentist in San Francisco today to schedule a teeth whitening consultation.