How does teeth whitening work?
Tooth enamel is incredibly hard, but it is also quite porous which makes our teeth prone to staining. Dr. Comfort offers both in-office teeth whitening and at-home teeth whitening options at his Encinitas and Mammoth Lakes offices.
Why are my teeth stained?
Like fingerprints, tooth enamel is unique to the person. The color varies slightly, as does the porosity of the enamel. Fortunately, most of the staining that occurs in the enamel responds well to teeth whitening using peroxide-based gels. There is, however, another type of staining that occurs in the dentin which is the inner portion of the tooth. This staining is typically the result of a reaction to a drug like tetracycline. The way to cover this type of staining is to have Dr. Comfort cover the stained teeth with porcelain veneers.
These are most serious culprits behind stained teeth:
- Foods — Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, even dark chocolate all contain pigments that can make their way into tooth enamel.
- Drinks — Coffee, tea, red wine, darker fruit juices, and cola drinks leave stains.
- Smoking— Nicotine makes the enamel yellow.
- Genes — Darker enamel tones are usually genetic.
- Drugs — Tetracycline was a popular antibiotic in the 60s, but it was found to make the dentin in teeth grey. There are now recommendations to not use tetracycline with children due to this problem.
- Fluorosis — If a person has too much fluoride, or if it is ingested, it can cause fluorosis, which stains the teeth a grey color. This is very rare.
When you drink a glass of red wine, bits of the red pigment penetrate the enamel and remain. The peroxide in our professional whitening gel also penetrates the enamel and breaks down the pigment in those stains. The process is similar to how laundry detergent removes stains on clothing.
What’s the difference between your in-office and at-home whitening treatments?
Our in-office treatments take about one hour. We first cover the gums and then apply the whitening gel to each tooth by hand. The gel stays on the teeth the prescribed time and then is removed. Simple as that!
Our at-home treatments also use professional-strength gel. First, we take impressions of the teeth and use them to make custom trays to use at home. We provide patients with gel and instructions on what to do. Patients will fill the trays at home and wear them for 30 minutes a day for two weeks.
Both options are pretty simple and teeth can become up to eight shades whiter.
Will teeth whitening make my teeth sensitive?
Because the whitening agents penetrate the enamel, whitening can make your teeth sensitive for a few hours, but this passes quickly.
What Our Patients Say
I think Dr. comfort is absolutely fantastic. He is the most wonderful dentist I have ever met. He took care of me and was very caring. I recommend him to everybody.
Give Dr. Comfort a call today to discuss your teeth whitening options.