Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening Los AngelesTeeth have coan enamel surface that is composed of crystalline rods. The enamel serves to protect the teeth from the abuse that they receive throughout the day, such as chewing and attacks of acid from sugar. As we get older, the enamel on our teeth begins to wear. Dentin, which is the core material of our teeth, will start to show as a yellow coloration. The enamel will also begin to crack over time, and these cracks, coupled with spaces between the crystalline rods, will begin to collect stains. With the passage of time, teeth will lose their brightness.  Teeth whitening treatments are effective at removing some of the stains but the cracks in the enamel will remain, and the staining process will start all over again.



Causes of Stains on the Teeth

Staining of the teeth can be caused by a number of different factors:
• Age: The older we get, the more our teeth will darken. This darkening is the dual result of wear on the teeth, and accumulation of stains that build up over the years.

• The original color of teeth: Your teeth are genetically predisposed to a certain color range. It could be a yellow-brown color or it might be green-gray. This color will naturally deepen with time.

• Thinness and translucency: The thinness and translucency of your teeth are also genetic and will become more obvious with the passage of time. If you have thicker teeth, they will have a lighter hue to them and respond better to whitening procedures. Thinner teeth will not fare as well because of less pigment.

• Foods and Beverages: Certain foods and beverages will have an effect on your teeth. Coffee, tea, dark soda and red wine discolor the teeth. Acidic foods can actually also erode the enamel, allowing more of the yellow dentin to show on the surface.

• Smoking: Nicotine is not kind to teeth, leaving brown stains that can actually be absorbed into the tooth structure.

• Medications: Certain drugs, such as tetracycline, can cause ribbon stains of a brown or grayish color on the teeth. Even too much fluoride can cause a problem, creating a condition known as fluorosis, which is a mottling of white coloration on the teeth.

• Teeth grinding: When teeth grinding occurs, it is responsible for tiny cracks in the teeth and darkening of teeth edges.

• Trauma to the teeth: Any injury to the teeth that causes cracking will create a staining problem, as the cracks collect debris.



Teeth can be whitened in one of three ways.

• In our Los Angeles dental office, our dentists can perform a whitening procedure in the office. The changes will be significant and occur quickly. The dentist uses a high concentration of peroxide gel that is directly applied to the teeth. (The gums are protected so they will not be harmed by the gel.) Several treatments of 15 to 20 minutes each are performed- with a total time of one hour for best results. Very stubborn stains may require a second visit.

• Professional Whitening Kits: Dentists will sometimes give patients a whitening kit that consists of bleaching trays for use at home. These kits contain a lower concentration of peroxide gel and will remain on the teeth for at least one hour, sometimes overnight.

• Store-bought Kits: Drug stores and supermarkets offer over the counter bleaching kits consists of trays, strips or applicators. These kits require repeated usage over long periods of time to see significant results.



Teeth whitening treatments can cause temporary sensitivity of the teeth, especially in those with gum recession and cracks in the tooth structure. The sensitivity normally lasts for just a few days but for some, may linger up to one month. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth such as Sensodyne may help during this time. It's important to note that tooth restorations don't respond to whitening treatments as bleach has no effect on them.

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