Marielaina Perrone DDS Cosmetic, Family, and Implant Dentist
Whiter teeth have been a hallmark of youth and health for many years. Over the last 15 years or so, many different methods and products have come to market to allow everyone to achieve the goal of a whiter smile if they so choose. There are so many different methods it is not always easy to choose the one that is right for you. Below you will find a detailed description of each type of teeth whitening to help make your choice easier.
Teeth Whitening Methods
The various methods all have the same goal in common, to make your teeth whiter. Some are done on your own and others are done under the supervision of a dentist.
-Teeth Whitening Toothpaste ($5-$12 per tube). This method is probably the cheapest and easiest to use. It is easy because it is something we do every day at least twice a day….tooth brushing. Many toothpastes now incorporate teeth whitening agents to help you achieve a whiter, brighter smile. Unfortunately, teeth whitening tooth pastes have their drawbacks. The results are very variable from person to person. If you have very deep staining, these toothpastes may not work as well as for someone who has very light staining. However, as mentioned earlier, we are brushing anyway, so why not give it a try and see what the results may bring for your particular smile.
-Teeth Whitening Strips/ Gel Pens ($20-$55 per box). This method costs a little bit more and can give very good results as well. You can buy a box of Whitening Strips, gel pens or Trays over-the-counter at your local pharmacy. Check the expiration date on this product as it does matter. The active teeth whitening ingredients in the strips and gels are the same as dentists use in their professional teeth whitening procedures however, the concentration of the teeth whitening agent in the store bought products is at a much lower level. The lower concentration may not get your teeth to whiten as much as you’d like. The other drawback is the application of the strips and gels. The strips must be placed across all the teeth, and cannot be directly applied to one that is stained more. The fit is not great, and they may irritate gum tissues. The gels can be messy, and may be uncomfortable to swallow.
-Teeth Whitening W/ Custom Trays ($200-$500). This method is done through your dentist‘s office. The trays are made to custom fit your mouth comfortably and allow for an even distribution of the teeth whitening gel across all teeth or only applied to specific teeth. The trays can be worn day or night (even while sleeping) over a period of one to 4 weeks, and are very convenient for busy schedules. The other advantage is that this type of teeth whitening will use stronger whitening agent. The main disadvantage to this type of teeth whitening vs the at home techniques is that it costs more, and sensitivity may be greater, but the results are better.
-In Office Teeth Whitening ($300-$800). This is the highest cost, fastest, and generally most effective Teeth Whitening option. This procedure is performed by the dentist using a special light and teeth whitening gel. This type of whitening can deliver fantastic results in as little as 1/2 to one hour. This technique utilizes a highly concentrated whitening agent accelerated by heat and light to speed up the Teeth Whitening process. The disadvantages are, you have no idea what the results will be in the one hour, and the higher cost of Teeth Whitening.
Teeth Whitening Conclusion
As you can see above there are many choices available for teeth whitening. Discuss the various options for teeth whitening with your dentist to see what would work best for you. Teeth whitening is a rapidly growing trend. Be financially and proceduraly aware when choosing the best option for your smile.
Why do teeth change color? Our teeth can stain and darken over time for many reasons. In many instances, yellowing of the teeth comes with age, staining of the enamel, and the accumulation of plaque on the teeth due to poor dental hygiene. Whatever the cause, most people prefer whiter teeth as they as a sign of health and youth.
What Causes Yellowing Of Teeth?
Yellowing of teeth is due to many factors. It is different for each individual. For some, it might start with one or two teeth while, for others, it might be more pronounced. The entire tooth may not discolor in the traditional sense, either. Some teeth may exhibit spotting, pitting, or streaks of white or yellow.
Luckily, the initial yellowing of teeth does not generally cause pain or discomfort. What it can cause is a person being self conscious and trying to hide their smile. There are certain factors involved with the changes in tooth color.
-Staining. Also referred to as yellowing. The enamel of the teeth yellow or darken due to staining from coffee, red wine, soda, tobacco, and other foods and drink.
- Thin and discolored enamel. Sometimes, thin enamel is genetic, or discolored because of issues during tooth development. Over exposure to high amounts of minerals in water or tetracycline use during tooth development as a child can cause gray or mottled looking teeth. Fevers during tooth development can also cause malformed enamel. For others with stronger enamel, wear can happen over time, from trauma and use. This wear can be caused by aggressive brushing, physical trauma such as grinding and clenching, high exposure to acids from foods or health issues. As the enamel thins out over time, the dentin on the inside of the tooth will begin to show through. This thinner enamel will also allow more uptake of stain deeper into the teeth. The yellow color will be more prominent due to the thin enamel layer on the outside.
-Age. As we get older yellowing of teeth is quite normal. From wear and use our enamel layer will become thinner thus allowing more of the underlying tooth structure to show thru.
How To Treat Yellowing Teeth?
-Teeth Whitening. Teeth whitening products and treatments are able to whiten our teeth by removing stains and discolorations. Across the globe, teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure. It works best when teeth are stained from foods, beverages, and smoking. The results for malformed enamel can vary in effectiveness, and sometimes look worse.
There are two main types of teeth whitening: in office treatment and at home treatment. In office whitening involves application of whitening products to the teeth while in the dental office. Results up to several shades lighter are achieved the same day. The process is fast, and easy. At home procedures involve application of whitening products to the teeth by the patient daily, for approximately 1 week to 1 month. The at home process is slower to achieve results, generally less expensive, and usually easy. Both cosmetic dentistry whitening procedures are very effective, and can help you to achieve the whiter smile you have been dreaming of. Any type of whitening can cause sensitivity, which is usually short term.
-Porcelain Veneers. Porcelain veneers are a great option for teeth that will not whiten the way you would like. Mottled enamel, and tetracycline stained teeth do not evenly whiten, some of us have see through or translucent which do not whiten well either. Porcelain veneers give the cosmetic dentist the ability to change the color of teeth, keeping them natural looking and have low incidence of staining when taken care of properly. Porcelain veneers are custom made ultra thin porcelain restorations that are bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth. Modern porcelain veneers offer a natural looking, beautiful smile. Porcelain veneers generally last between 8 to 12 years, but if cared for properly can last for much longer . The lifespan of porcelain veneers (and any dental restoration) depends upon your oral hygiene maintenance, the forces on the teeth(hard use, grinding), tooth decay, and maintaining regular dental visits.
-Porcelain Crowns. Porcelain crowns give the cosmetic dentist the ability to restore a tooth to its natural look without the use of metal. This allows the dental laboratory to fabricate a tooth that reflects light just like our own natural teeth. Porcelain crowns can be used on teeth that either already have crowns or need more extensive work. Teeth with large, deep, silver fillings, root canals, or extensive tooth decay generally have deep staining which needs to be covered with a crown to restore strength and beauty.
-Dental Bonding. Dental bonding is the process in which tooth colored dental materials are bonded to a tooth. This might be one of the easiest cosmetic dentistry procedures to change our look. Using dental bonding we can change color, shape, size, and close any spaces that might be present. Dental bonding is generally completed in the dentist office in as little as an hour. This is especially useful when treating damaged, thin, or malformed enamel.
Yellowing teeth does not have to be an issue. Protect your smile by limiting acidic and highly staining foods. See your dentist to help you stop grinding and clenching habits. See your hygienist to have your cleaned teeth regularly. Maintain good oral hygiene, without being overly aggressive. If you already have deep staining or damaged enamel, see your dentist to see which options will work best for you.You can achieve the bright white smile you desire with a little help from your dentist!
Cosmetic Dentistry has evolved over the years to allow dentists to give patients what they crave…..A beautiful long lasting smile that changes their life. In the past, dentists could do minor changes to a person’s smile or more drastic ones using orthodontics. Today, modern cosmetic dentistry techniques and materials allow drastic changes as well as minor ones that can alter a patient’s smile for the better.
Do you believe having a great looking smile can improve your appearance and enhance your social life?
In a recent poll by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) revealed that about 96% of those surveyed agreed that it can. In the same study about 65% of the participants said they were unhappy with one or more aspects of their smiles. Cosmetic dentistry has the ability to change that.
Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
Cosmetic Dentistry procedures come in all sizes from a one office visit for teeth whitening to a multiple visit complete smile makeover. Let’s take a look at some of the most sought after cosmetic dentistry procedures…
-Teeth Contouring. This might be one of the simplest and easiest cosmetic dentistry procedures of all. It is generally done without anesthesia and can be as simple as filing down a tooth that appears longer or is slightly out of alignment with the others. Most patients are quite surprised at how such a small adjustment can alter their smile for the better.
-Gum contouring. Evening out gum levels can help teeth to look more evenly sized and can make short teeth appear longer.
-Teeth Whitening. In the United States, teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic dentistry procedure performed by dentists. It has been proven by research time and again that people find a whiter smile to be more attractive. People tend to feel better about themselves when they are happy with their appearance. The teeth whitening procedure can be done at home or in the office. Either procedure is generally very successful, and can give patients a dramatic change to their smile with minimal cost and time invested.
-Dental Bonding. While dental bonding is also used to restore teeth damaged by tooth decay it can also be used as a composite veneer to change color or shape, fix chipped teeth, or close small gaps in your smile. Dental bonding is the process in which tooth colored dental materials are bonded to a tooth. This procedure is also a quicker fix and can usually be completed in a single visit easily altering your smile in as little as an hour.
-Replacing old silver restorations. Many of us have a few silver fillings. Replacing silver fillings with new white fillings or porcelain onlays can make your whole smile brighter.
-Porcelain Veneers and Porcelain Crowns. Our smiles are constantly changing over time with wear. Teeth can get worn down, can shift, or maybe you were born with an imperfect smile. Porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns can be a great way to replace lost tooth structure and alter imperfect teeth. These cosmetic dentistry procedures tend to require multiple visits but the results will give you a beautiful smile. Porcelain
Veneers are custom made, ultra thin, tooth colored shells that are adhesively bonded to the teeth. This allows the cosmetic dentist to not only alter color of your teeth, but shape and length as well. Porcelain veneers are sometimes called instant orthodontics. This is because porcelain veneers can change the alignment of teeth if the alignment issues are not too extreme. Porcelain crowns can be used on teeth that either already have crowns or need more extensive work (having large restorations or tooth decay). Both porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns can as used in cosmetic dentistry to give the patient a flawless, more youthful and sexy smile.
-Dental Implants. These are the newest addition to cosmetic dentistry. Dental implants allow cosmetic dentists another option in tooth replacement. Whether it is a single tooth or a full mouth restoration, dental implants can fill that need. Missing teeth has long been considered a sign of old age. Having a full set of white teeth screams youth especially when they are bright, white, and sparkling. When a person is missing a tooth they have several options. There are partial and complete dentures (including the all on 4 dental implants system), traditional bridges, and dental implants. A dental implant can look and feel just like a natural tooth. It is also easier to keep clean than a traditional bridge. Dental implants are placed directly into bone creating a solid foundation for a natural tooth replacement.
-Bite Reclamation. Over time as we use our teeth we tend to lose some height on our teeth. This loss of height of height is also referred to as loss of vertical dimension. Some other factors that cause this loss include acid reflux or teeth grinding (bruxism). Reclaiming a person’s bite utilizing dental implants and porcelain crowns will increase vertical height which will also remove some of the wrinkles around the mouth. These wrinkles develop as our we age and our mouth’s sag from this loss of dimension. Cosmetic dentistry can fix some of this.
Cosmetic Dentistry Conclusion
Cosmetic Dentistry gives the dentist the ability to give patients the smiles they have always dreamed of. Not everyone wants a complete Hollywood style smile makeover and just want minor issues fixed that have always bothered them. Modern cosmetic dentistry allows for both minor fixes as well as extreme ones. Whichever cosmetic dentistry procedure you choose, please be sure that you keep your teeth healthy by visiting your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.