If you want to have your teeth whitened, your dentist may present you with multiple options. The color of your teeth can be changed by chemical or mechanical methods. Here is how:
Chemical Whitening Methods
Dental discoloration can be chemically lightened through dental bleaching applications. Most dental bleaching products are peroxide-based. The oxygenation that occurs as the peroxide is applied to the enamel helps whiten the teeth and remove stains.
Tooth enamel may appear completely solid, but it actually contains many tiny pores. As you eat, drink or smoke, colorants and natural pigments from the substances that you ingest may become trapped in the porous tooth surface. Over time, these pigments accumulate, causing your teeth to look discolored.
Several different categories of bleaching applications can be used to whiten non-permanent dental staining. Here are a few of them:
- Drugstore Whitening Kits. Dental bleaching kits are available for purchase over-the-counter. The kits include specific instructions that you must adhere to in order to avoid issues, such as dental sensitivity and enamel damage. Most of these commercial kit-based bleaching products can be either painted onto the teeth or applied using a mouth tray that is included in the kit.
- Professional Whitening Sessions. Dentists sometimes offer teeth-whitening treatments that are performed in their office. The professional bleaching products used during the treatments are applied by dental professionals, so there is practically no likelihood of an error occurring during the application. Thus, professional whitening treatments are considered the safest form of chemical bleaching.
- Home Whitening Kits From a Dentist. A dentist may also offer whitening kits for use at home. These kits are often used to maintain the whiteness achieved through an in-office whitening application.
Mechanical Whitening Methods
Teeth can also be whitened using mechanical methods, such an application of dental crowns or veneers. A dental veneer is applied to the front surface of a discolored tooth. A crown, on the other hand, covers the entire tooth portion that lies above the gum line. The color of the veneer or crown masks that of the underlying tooth.
Mechanical whitening conceals dental discoloration, instead of bleaching it away. As a result, it can even be used to transform teeth that have permanent discoloration. Permanent dental stains can be caused by trauma to the teeth, side effects from prescription medicine or a dental defect present at birth.
For more information about teeth-whitening options, contact a business such as Pike Dentistry.