Enjoying a brighter and more vibrant smile can be as simple as taking full advantage of all that modern teeth whitening makes possible. The options available today to those interested in teeth whitening technology include products that can be used at home or simply visiting a dentist for more complete treatment. Even tooth whitening toothpaste is available to those who wish to take a slower and steady approach to enjoying a brighter and more attractive smile. There are whitening strips and whitening trays as well as whitening pens that can help individuals whiten their teeth at home.
A Simple In-Office Procedure
The main premise behind the idea of tooth whitening is that it lightens teeth and helps to remove any discolorations or stains. Considered by many to be one of the most popular types of dental procedures in use today, whitening is a cosmetic treatment that can substantially improve the outward visual appearance of teeth. Most dental care providers today offer tooth whitening treatment as a simple in office procedure. It should be noted that teeth whitening requires several procedures and is not just a one-time procedure. In addition, occasional maintenance whitening is recommended in order to ensure an ongoing bright color.
Reflect and Scatter Light from the Enamel
To fully understand tooth whitening it is first important to understand the structure of a tooth. The outer layer of the tooth is typically known as the enamel. Teeth have a natural white appearance because they reflect and scatter light from the enamel. However, the whiteness of teeth is also determined by the color of the dentin located directly underneath the enamel. Everyone has a different thickness and texture when it comes to tooth enamel. This is why some teeth are whiter than others. For example, those with thinner or rougher enamel will generally have less white teeth. It is also important to keep in mind that the use of alcohol or drinking too much dark colored liquids such as tea, coffee, colas and red wine can cause teeth to become less white.
Stains That Originate from Within the Tooth
Even a lack of proper oral hygiene can result in teeth becoming dull in color and overall general appearance. Aging can have an affect on the brightness of teeth. As an individual ages the enamel becomes thinner while at the same time the dentin becomes darker. Another concern is that of stains that originate from within the tooth. These are known as intrinsic stains and are often caused by excessive fluoride exposure in childhood as well as the use of antibiotics. In fact, if a mother takes antibiotics during pregnancy, the child could end up having internally stained teeth. Modern tooth whitening is intended primarily for dealing with surface stains and discoloration.
Vital Whitening or Non-vital Whitening
Finally, your dental care provider can use two primary types of whitening procedures to help you achieve a brighter smile. This can be either vital whitening or non-vital whitening. Vital whitening is typically used with teeth that have a live and active root. Products used for vital whitening will most often contain some type of hydrogen peroxide. The procedure when done in a dentist’s office usually takes around an hour. Non-vital whitening is most frequently used for teeth that have had root canal treatment performed. This is due to the facts that the stain is coming from inside of the tooth and that the root is no longer vital or living. Contact our Campbell and San Jose dental practice in order to talk with your dental care provider, Dr. Vandi today to determine which type of tooth whitening technology is best for your dental needs.