Even the brightest smile can become duller over time due to food and beverage stains. Teeth whitening removes the stains that make you reluctant to smile and offers long-term results. Our Lansing, MI, dentist, Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, explains how whitening can revitalize your smile.
What type of stains does teeth whitening treat?
Teeth whitening is very effective for removing stains that develop in your enamel, the outer layer of your teeth. Stains in tooth enamel can occur due to:
- Smoking: Years of exposure to cigarette smoke can turn a white wall yellow. The same thing happens to your teeth if you smoke.
- Eating: Foods that contain dark pigments, including berries, cherries, soy sauce and tomato sauce, stain teeth.
- Drinking: Your morning cup of coffee may be the reason that your teeth have become discolored. Coffee, tea, cola, red wine and sports drinks are common staining culprits.
- Aging: Tooth enamel tends to get thinner as we age. Unfortunately, when enamel thins, it exposes dentin, a darker layer of your teeth.
How does the teeth whitening process work?
Hydrogen gel, the agent used to remove stains, can lighten your teeth by three to eight shades. Before your teeth are whitened in our Lansing office, we'll clean and examine them. An examination is particularly important because it may reveal a dental problem that could cause discoloration. If we do find a problem, it must be treated before your teeth are whitened.
Your comfort is a priority in our office. A protective gel will be applied to your roots to prevent sensitivity. Your cheeks and lips will be pulled away from your teeth with retractors to ensure that the hydrogen peroxide doesn't come in contact with the sensitive tissues. Once the hydrogen peroxide gel is applied, it will remain on your teeth for about an hour.
You can also choose at-home whitening. We'll provide you with trays custom-made to fit your upper and lower teeth. You'll apply whitening gel to the trays several times a week for a few weeks. At-home whitening trays also offer a convenient way to occasionally touch up your results.
Regardless of the whitening method you choose, your teeth can stay whiter for several years or more, as long as you avoid or limit foods or beverages that can stain teeth.
Ready to schedule your teeth whitening appointment? Call our Lansing, MI, dentist, Dr. Scott-Hetchler, at (517) 487-6333 to arrange your visit.