Tooth discoloration can occur for many reasons, but most stains form as a result of foods and beverages like coffee, tea, red wine, dark berries, and some spices. Eating foods that are high in acid content can make enamel softer so stains have a better chance of penetrating and causing discoloration. Poor oral hygiene can also cause teeth to appear yellow or dark, and so can smoking and use of other tobacco products. Teeth whitening can help correct all these issues so teeth appear whiter and healthier. Sometimes, certain medications, diseases or traumatic damage to the tooth structure can cause discoloration inside the tooth. This type of deep discoloration may require a veneer, composite bonding or crown to correct.
Absolutely. Professional teeth whitening uses products and techniques that are designed to penetrate the tooth more deeply and more consistently for superior results that can be achieved more quickly and that can last much longer compared to results achieved with over-the-counter tooth bleaching products. Plus, having teeth whitened in the dentist's office ensures tiny problems like fissures and cracks can be corrected first so the risk of tooth sensitivity is reduced. And because professional whitening can be completed in a single office visit, patients who do have sensitive teeth will not be subjected to repeated treatments day after day.
In-office teeth whitening uses special gels that are applied to the visible surfaces of teeth to penetrate and reach deeper layers so stain removal is consistent and effective. A flexible mouth guard is used to keep the lips away from the teeth to avoid the gel from being washed away during treatment. Once the gel is applied, a special light is used to activate the gel during whitening. The guard helps ensure each tooth is exposed to the light for better results. Most procedures take about an hour to perform, and the results can be maintained indefinitely with regular touch-up treatments.