Teeth Whitening in Stamford CT
Providing Stamford with Quality Care
Teeth Whitening Services in Stamford CT
Stains on your teeth are normal!
Even though hard work is required to maintain good oral hygiene, it does not guarantee protection against the development of stains. Teeth stains are common and can range in color, size and shape, sometimes appearing as stain lines, and other times presenting as irregular blotches. Stains can be caused by drinks (coffee, tea, wine), food, medications, and smoking; however, some causes of staining have a more severe impact than others.
What types of stains can teeth have?
There are two types of stains that cause discoloration of your teeth: extrinsic stains and intrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains results in discoloration of the outer surface of the tooth. They are caused by colored or pigmented particles that adhere to the surfaces of the teeth when consuming certain drinks/food, using tobacco, etc. Intrinsic stains describe an internal discoloration of the tooth, particularly within the enamel or the layer underlying the enamel, known as dentin. Deeper staining of the teeth can be caused by age, medications, genetics, trauma, or prolonged use of fluoride. Intrinsic stains are more difficult to reverse, but they can be treated.
Causes of Stains What Causes Stains On My Teeth?
Tea, coffee, soda and red wine are the drinks that most commonly induce stains due to their concentration of chromogens. Chromogens are substances within certain foods and drinks that through chemical processes can impart color changes when they bond with the surfaces of the teeth. Additionally, red wine contains tannins, compounds known to increase the binding sensitivity of chromogens. Other factors that increase the effects of chromogens are high acid content, which degrade the thickness of the enamel. Starchy foods such as potatoes and bread can also be problematic. Because bacteria in the mouth feed on starches and sugars, and acids produced from this process softens/weakens our teeth, allowing chromogens to penetrate deeper regions of the enamel.
Cigarettes contain nicotine, which when combined with oxygen, naturally creates a yellow or brown pigmentation. These small particles present in smoke can settle into the pores of the enamel, allowing deeper stains to materialize. Even with the recent transition by many to electronic cigarettes, nicotine stains are still able to form. Additionally, because cigarettes decrease salivation, saliva is unable to coat and wash the teeth, providing rougher, more textured surfaces for bacterial adherence.
Genetics can play an important role in predisposing an individual to developing stains. Some genetic factors include the strength/concentration of enamel and the presence of metabolic disorders, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, celiac’s disease, etc.
Inadequate Oral Hygiene
One of the easiest ways for reduce the likelihood of developing stains is to adopt good oral hygiene habits. Brushing your teeth at least 2x/day and flossing 1x/day is vital in managing plaque formation and disrupting the hardening of plaque into tartar. When plaque buildup is not properly managed, teeth may start to exhibit color changes ranging from yellow to gray, green, brown, orange or even black.
As humans age, gradual wear and tear can cause the enamel to begin to thin and soften, which allows the naturally yellow layer underneath the enamel, known as dentin, to become more exposed.
Damage To Teeth
Accidents can also lead to tooth discoloration. When baby teeth are chipped or become subluxed, the nerve of the tooth can be affected, in which case localized hemorrhaging or cell death may occur. Additionally, the tooth may turn gray and become more vulnerable to infection. When an infection develops, it can spread into the regional area, disrupting enamel formation of the overlying permanent tooth, causing it too to darken. Similar injuries can also occur directly to permanent teeth, in which case a root canal may need performed to remove the nerve debris.
Medications can also cause staining. Of note, tetracycline and doxycycline have been shown to cause permanent staining of teeth in children less than 8 years of age. Whether exposed to these medications in utero or through oral administration, these antibiotics develop bonds with calcium ions on the teeth, and when exposed to light, become chemically reactive, causing the teeth to progressively yellow or brown. Other medications that have been known to induce staining include antihistamines, antipsychotic and antihypertensive drugs, in addition to mouth washes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyrindium chloride.
How's It Work? How Do Teeth Whitening Products Work?
Teeth whitening products are known to contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. During whitening treatments, hydrogen peroxide reacts with chromophores. Chromophores are the specific particles within chromogens (substances that stain teeth such as tea, wine, coffee, cola) that cause food, drinks, to impart a stain. Hydrogen peroxide reacts with chromophores through a process known as oxidation, which disrupts chromophores from being able to induce a color change on the tooth. Because chromophores are what give stains on the tooth its color, when the chemical process is disturbed, the teeth start to brighten.
What To Do Before a Teeth Whitening Procedure?
Before whitening treatments, it is important to schedule a teeth cleaning with one of our dentists at our Stamford, CT office to remove plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. Brushing and flossing your teeth each day can remove most of the buildup, but it is difficult to get everything. Therefore, our deep cleanings will ensure that our whitening treatments are able to effectively react with all surfaces of your teeth. During your cleaning, our dentists will also inspect for any signs of cavities or gum disease. If there are any oral health problems, we will treat these issues before proceeding with your whitening treatments.
Teeth Whitening Options In-Office Teeth Whitening
Laser Teeth Whitening
A quick option to brighten your teeth is laser teeth whitening. This is typically performed over the course of 2-4 visits. The dentist will place a shield or gel over your gums for protection followed by a high concentration bleaching product containing 35-40% concentration hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide gel over the exterior surface of the teeth.
Teeth Whitening treatments can vary but below is an outline of the main steps:
- A cheek retractor is placed in your mouth to ensure all teeth can be seen.
- A hardening resin substance or liquid rubber dam will be placed on your gums to ensure their protection
- The teeth will be covered with a hydrogen peroxide gel and a laser will be used to activate the gel as it stays on your teeth for about 15 minutes
- The hydrogen peroxide gel will be rinsed off your teeth and the results compared to determine if further applications are warranted
- Upwards of 3-4 applications may be performed in a single visit
Teeth Whitening Options Take-Home Teeth Whitening
Teeth Whitening Trays
Teeth whitening trays also use hydrogen peroxide, except in lower concentrations (10-22%). The hydrogen peroxide gel is placed into custom trays designed from molds to fit around the contours of your teeth for the purpose of limiting irritation of the gum lining. The trays are designed to be worn overnight for optimal effects and the outcomes nearly match that of laser teeth whitening treatments over a two-week span.
Teeth Whitening Strips
Teeth whitening strips are short, flexible pieces of plastic lined with a thin layer of peroxide gel. Whitening strips typically contain lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (around 7%) and are designed to be worn for upwards of 30 minutes in a single bout. Unlike dental trays, which are customized to align with the contours of your teeth, whitening strips have universal dimensions. Therefore, it is possible for whitening applications to be distributed unevenly if not placed carefully. Additionally, it is important to cautious with applications as to not place teeth whitening strips directly over your gum tissue, as this may cause localized irritation/sensitivity.
Teeth whitening toothpastes and mouth rinses are some of the most affordable teeth whitening products available on the market. However, these products contain the lowest concentration of peroxides, (typically in the range of 3-4%). Consult one of our Stamford, CT dentists to learn which products we recommend.
Do Teeth Whitening Services Always Work?
Teeth whitening services are not appropriate for everyone. Teeth whitening treatments were designed to work on natural teeth; hence, they will not work on dental restorations (crowns, dentures, fillings, veneers, etc.). In some cases, natural teeth may also not respond to teeth whitening treatments. As mentioned before, depending on severity and longevity of the stains, some types of stains may be irreversible. Whitening products are known to have the best results on yellow stains; however, if there are brown or grey stains, the products may not work as effectively, or at all.
What a nice group of people! They were organized, showcased safe & clean hygienic practices and (as always) managed to keep me calm during the exam. You’ll never have this much fun at the dentist!