Teeth discoloration occurs due to natural aging process or consumption of teeth-staining substances such as coffee, tea, cola, tobacco, or wine. Consumption of certain antibiotics, tetracycline, or excessive fluoride during teeth formative years can also cause teeth discoloration.
Teeth whitening is a simple, safe, inexpensive and non-invasive treatment aimed at lightening upper and/or lower teeth, depending on how much shows when you talk or smile. Using the latest teeth-whitening technology, our cosmetic dentist in Washington DC can provide you with a beautiful smile in the office or at home.
- Extrinsic StainsThese are externally formed stains that reside on the surface of teeth due to consumption of dark color beverages, food, tobacco, and wear and tear. Superficial extrinsic stains can be removed with regular prophylactic dental cleaning and brushing. Stubborn extrinsic stains can be removed by teeth whitening material. Persistent extrinsic stains however can penetrate into the dentin and become permanently engrained if not treated in early stages.
- Intrinsic StainsThese are formed in the interior of teeth often resulting from trauma, aging, exposure to minerals such as tetracycline during teeth formative period, or excessive ingestion of fluoride. In the past, it was thought that intrinsic stains were too resistant to be corrected by whitening material. Today, cosmetic dentistry experts believe that even deep-set intrinsic stains can be removed with supervised take-home whitening, which is preserved for months or even a year.
TOOTH WHITENING ALTERNATIVES
- In-office Whitening The main benefit of in-office whitening is achieving dramatic improvement in teeth color very quickly. This is accomplished through careful, controlled use of a relatively high concentration of peroxide gel applied to the front surface of teeth by a dentist or a trained dental assistant.
- At-Home Whitening At-home whitening option involves using a professionally-dispensed, take-home whitening kit to produce the best results over a longer time period. Take-home kits incorporate lower concentration of peroxide gel, which is applied to teeth using custom-made bleaching trays. The trays must remain on teeth for an hour or longer. Lower concentration allows for the peroxide gel to remain on teeth for a longer period of time, safely.
- Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Material Over-the-counter whitening material involves using consumer-grade whitening kits. This option is the least expensive and most convenient whitening option, but has many limitations. For example, it comes in the form of one-size-fits-all trays, whitening strips, or paint-on applicators, and uses the lowest concentration of whitening gel. In many cases, it may only whiten a few front teeth, as opposed to custom-made trays that can whiten the entire smile.