Are There Any Tips For Teeth Whitening?
At the office of Heather F. Fleschler DDS, we offer teeth whitening at our Houston, TX office to help enhance the appearance of your smile. Dr. Fleschler offers whitening options in two forms, an in-office procedure called Opalescence Boost or take-home kits called Opalescence Go and Opalescence Customer Whitening Trays.
Beyond those treatments, there are things you can do to keep your teeth whiter. Use an ADA-approved whitening toothpaste with fluoride. These toothpastes use gentle scrubbing agents to remove some light staining from coffee, wine, and the like.
You could, of course, cut out staining items from your diet, things like red wine, berries, coffee, and the like. But that’s no fun! Plus, blueberries and raspberries are two superfoods that have antioxidant properties. If you want to minimize staining, drink some water and swish it around your mouth immediately after eating or drinking staining foods and beverages.
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Does Teeth Whitening Affect Composite Fillings, Porcelain Veneers, Or Crowns?
Teeth whitening has no effect on fillings, veneers, or crowns. Dental porcelain used in veneers and crowns is highly resistant to staining, so those teeth will stay whiter than your natural teeth anyway. Composite fillings are not affected in any way — whitening, bond strength, or longevity — by whitening agents. Composite resin also stains less than natural tooth enamel.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Teeth whitening is absolutely safe. There have not been any instances in the U.S. of structural damage caused by approved whitening methods. After whitening with Dr. Fleschler your teeth may be a little more sensitive, but this sensation quickly passes. There are no side effects.
Who Is A Good Candidate For Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening works on the enamel, the outer layer of your teeth. Because the enamel is somewhat porous, stains from coffee, red wine, and the like are able to take hold. Whitening agents, such as hydrogen peroxide, penetrate the enamel and break down stains in a similar way to how detergents break up stains on clothing. If your stains are from foods and beverages, our three teeth whitening options will work well for you.
However, if your teeth are stained in the layer beneath the enamel, the dentin, teeth whitening won’t have any effect. These stains are the result of drug reactions (tetracycline, etc.), trauma (such as when a tooth was bumped and loosened for a time), or from previous dental work on a tooth (orthodontic bands, etc.). To correct these stains, you need to place either porcelain veneers or crowns on the teeth.
What Causes My Teeth To Become Stained And Dingy?
Most stains occur on the enamel layer of your teeth. These are from foods, drinks, and smoking. Other stains occur deeper in the dentin layer; they are caused by drug reactions and tooth trauma. Our teeth naturally become more yellow as we age and our enamel becomes thinner.
These are the different factors that can stain your teeth:
- Foods — Blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries all have natural pigments in them that stain your enamel.
- Drinks — Coffee, tea, red wine, some fruit juices, even colas can all stain your teeth, especially if you drink a lot of them.
- Fluorosis — There can be too much of a good thing when it comes to fluoride. Too much leads to fluorosis, which stains the teeth.
- Genes — The color of the enamel on our teeth is different, along with the dentin beneath (which can influence the outer color). Some teeth are simply more yellow than others.
- Smoking — Nicotine in cigarettes leaves yellow stains on your teeth.
- Drugs — Tetracycline is the main culprit in stained teeth. Heavily used as an antibiotic in the 60s and 70s, it deeply stained the teeth of many children.
- Aging — Our enamel layer thins with time, showing more of the dentin beneath.
What Is The Cost Of Teeth Whitening In Houston, TX?
The cost of your teeth whitening depends on just how stained your teeth are and which of our three options you choose. When you come in for your consultation, we can give you the cost once we see your situation.
How Long Will My Whitening Last?
Our teeth whitening options will all whiten your teeth several shades. This whitening is not permanent, however. Whatever you were doing to stain your teeth before will stain them again. That’s why it’s impossible to gauge how long your teeth will stay white.
Good home hygiene plays a role. Twice daily brushing and flossing are important, as are your twice-yearly professional cleanings and exams with Dr. Fleschler.
What Makes Opalescence Boost Different than Zoom Teeth Whitening?
To date, the most recognized in-office teeth whitening system is Phillips Zoom. This treatment works by activating a peroxide-based whitening gel with LED light. The gel remains under light activation for about 15 minutes before it is removed. After observing the level of white that has been achieved, the dentist may repeat the process again. This can be done up to three times to lift the shade of teeth up to eight shades. The benefit of this single treatment is that it achieves dramatic results very quickly.
Opalescence Boost is also performed in the office in a single visit. Similar to other in-office teeth whitening treatments, it involves an application of a powerful whitening agent to the teeth. In this case, the whitening gel remains for about 20 minutes, after which it is suctioned and cleaned away. Depending on the level of whitening that has occurred within that twenty minutes, the process may be repeated. You can have three 20-minute sessions in one visit. This can achieve up to eight shades of brightening. The difference is that the whitening gel in Opalescence Boost is not activated by light.
There are a few advantages of Opalescence Boost not using light to activate the whitening gel. Although this system can achieve similar results to Zoom, it can do so without the risk of dehydrating tooth enamel. According to many patient reports, Opalescence Boost also seems to achieve outstanding results without causing the degree of post-treatment sensitivity that Zoom does.
Why Should I Have a Dental Exam Before Teeth Whitening?
Before performing your teeth whitening treatment, Dr. Fleschler will conduct a thorough examination and cleaning. There are a few reasons you don't want to skip this step if you want to brighten your smile. Your pre-treatment exam and cleaning achieve the following:
- Confirmation that you're a good candidate for teeth whitening. One of the primary factors that makes you a good candidate for teeth whitening is that you have extrinsic stains. This means that your discoloration is within the layer of enamel but not beneath it. Stains that are beneath tooth enamel, called intrinsic stains, involve the tooth's structure, which cannot be improved. If you have intrinsic teeth stains, you may be a good candidate for veneer treatment. Other factors that can affect your teeth whitening treatment include your tooth health and gum health. If, for example, you have gum disease that has exposed tooth roots, you may experience exaggerated sensitivity or discomfort from teeth whitening. Addressing existing dental issues before teeth whitening enables you to get the best results with the fewest side effects.
- Ensure optimal results. After examining your teeth and confirming that you are a good candidate for teeth whitening, we'll clean your teeth, too. This removes the biofilm of plaque and any tartar that may be present. Without these invisible layers in the way, the whitening gel is better able to permeate tooth enamel and break up stains.