7 Facts Everyone Should Know About Teeth Whitening
- Your teeth are like sponges – they absorb!
There are tiny tubules in your teeth, similar to how your skin has pores. Anything you put in your mouth that has color will absorb into those tubules. Wine, coffee, dark berries and smoking are extremely capable at staining teeth. Over time the natural color of your teeth becomes darker due to those stains, and the only way to get rid of them is to actively remove them. Properly formulated tooth whitening gels work by absorbing into your teeth and gently pushing stains out through the tubules.
- Whitening can’t be done overnight.
The whitening process can take anywhere from 4 days up to a few months. It all depends on what kind of stains you have. People with stains caused by antibiotic tetracycline taken in early childhood will have to use whitening a lot longer to see the effects. As a rule of thumb, individuals with severe tooth stains will have to be more patient with the process. However, once the stains are gone, it’s very easy to maintain the color!
- Crowns and veneers cannot be whitened
Crowns and veneers are created to match the color of the surrounding teeth and can’t be changed by the whitening process. However, they will never get stained or change the color either. So, if you are planning on having some restorative work done, make sure you go through with whitening before the final shade of your front restorations is picked. You can expect the best results if you wait about 7 days between your whitening session and the day of matching the color for future dental work.
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- Tooth whitening does not damage your teeth
If used as instructed, professional tooth whitening is very safe. The whitening process uses active ingredients to open the tubules in teeth and lift the stains. The teeth become temporarily dehydrated which reduces their ability to insulate the nerve from changes in temperature. This is temporary and as soon as the whitening session is over the teeth start to rehydrate and sensitivity will disappear 12 – 36 hours afterwards. To alleviate some sensitivity, a fluoride treatment can be applied.
- The best time to whiten your teeth is just before bed
Immediately after whitening your teeth are more susceptible to re-staining. Whitening before bed reduces the opportunity for staining and gives teeth the night to start rehydrating and remineralizing.
- The key to tooth whitening is the delivery device
Most tooth whitening products use similar ingredients, but at different concentrations. The difference is in the device that holds the whitening solution on your teeth – custom fitted trays being the most accurate, making sure that every angle of every tooth receives a consistent amount of whitening. As far as UV light is concerned – it speeds up the process of whitening but also dehydrates the teeth more making them more sensitive, so it’s not an option for people with already sensitive teeth!
- Not everyone’s teeth can be perfectly white.
Regardless of your stains, the natural color of someone’s teeth is set at birth – it is part of your genetics. The final whitening effect can differ from one person to another, but you will never know just how white your teeth can be until you try!