One of the most common concerns we hear from patients is regarding the colour of their teeth. Most people tell us they want whiter teeth and understandably so, as many of us associate a whiter smile with a more youthful glow. As a dollars per tooth proposition, whitening provides the best bang for buck for your smile.
Firstly to understand the process, it is important to understand the causes and types of tooth discolouration.
- External Stains on the enamel of your teeth are generally caused by foods and drinks such as coffee and wine as well as smoking. These stains usually appear as dark/yellow streaks and spots.
- Internal stains occur within the inner structure of the tooth and causes the dentine to darken/yellow. Internal stains are usually a result of too much exposure to fluoride, antibiotics and/or trauma.
- Lastly, tooth discolouration can occur from ageing. It is generally a combination of internal and external stains, naturally your dentine will begin to yellow over time and as your enamel begins to thin, your dentine will show through.
So, what are my options I hear you ask?
1. In-office whitening.
This is the fastest way to achieve a whiter smile. Typically a gel is applied to your teeth in the chair, then a light is applied to speed up the reaction. So for those in a hurry for a whiter smile, this is your ticket – it only takes an hour to an hour and a half. However, this is generally more expensive (typically more than $500) and may lead to greater sensitivity due to more concentrated gels.
2. Custom-made whitening trays.
A popular choice as it allows you to whiten in the comfort of your own home. Typically gels are applied with the trays and inserted to allow precise contact with your teeth for 30-60 minutes. Cost is usually $300-500.
3. Pre-made whitening trays.
These are becoming more readily available. Lower cost would appear enticing, but as the fit is rather uneven, so too can be the whitening effect. Also stray chemicals may cause gum reactions.
4. All the rest
You may have seen the whitening strips, toothpaste, even chewing gum. Less customised, usually the least effective, and in the case of some toothpastes, can cause harm if all they do is to strip off the enamel of your teeth.
Please be aware that some teeth may not change colour with any of the above methods. These include any fillings or crowns you may have. A darker tooth may also be a sign of decay or a dead tooth which may require more urgent dental treatment. Indeed, a thorough professional examination (and any necessary treatment) to establish sound dental health would be strongly advised prior to considering any cosmetic treatment.
Give us a call to find out more about our Teeth Whitening Services.