Brighten Your Teeth Up to Eight Shades Lighter with Professional Teeth Whitening
Common foods in the standard American diet can lead to dental staining. A beautiful smile can be negatively impacted by discolored or yellowed teeth. At Creative Smiles in Vancouver, WA, Dr. Carl Futenma offers professional teeth whitening for patients who want to give their appearance an aesthetic boost.
Types of Dental Staining
Before we explore teeth whitening, it is important to differentiate between the two types of dental stains. Extrinsic stains appear on the outer surface of the teeth, and are caused by the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. Extrinsic staining responds exceptionally well to teeth whitening.
Intrinsic stains affect the inner layers of a tooth. This type of discoloration can be caused by certain medications, such as tetracycline, or by dental trauma. Unfortunately, intrinsic stains do not respond well to teeth whitening. Patients who have intrinsic staining will be better suited for other cosmetic treatments, such as dental bonding or porcelain veneers.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Dental bleaching gels contain an active teeth whitening substance – typically either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. These whitening agents have oxygen molecules that penetrate the tooth enamel and break the bonds that hold dental stains together. The result is a dazzling, brighter, whiter smile.
Who is a Candidate for Teeth Whitening?
As aforementioned, patients seeking teeth whitening should have extrinsic stains rather than intrinsic stains. Additionally, individuals who are pursuing any kind of cosmetic treatment should be in good oral and overall health. Therefore, if more serious dental issues are present, such as tooth decay or gum disease, they should be addressed first.
It is also important to mention that restorations, such as veneers, crowns, or composite resin, do not respond to bleaching. Therefore, if teeth whitening is included in your comprehensive treatment plan, we recommend whitening your teeth first so you can color-match your new restorations to your surrounding teeth.
Professional Teeth Whitening vs Over-the-Counter Treatments
There are numerous over-the-counter teeth whitening products on the market today, available at pharmacies and department stores across the country. In addition to whitening gels, there are whitening agents in toothpastes, polishes, rinses, and more. While not every over-the-counter option is dangerous, some of them can harm your enamel. Just because a product is being sold does not mean it has been deemed safe by the American Dental Association. If you decide to purchase an over-the-counter whitening product, look for the ADA seal of approval.
Dentist-supervised teeth whitening systems are overall safer than store-bought versions. Not only are they more effective at removing dental stains, they are also overseen by your dentist, so you can rest assured you are receiving the highest-quality care.
At Creative Smiles, Dr. Futenma offers at-home professional teeth whitening by Opalescence. This system allows patients to whiten their teeth at home when it is most convenient for them. Before your treatment begins, we will take impressions of your teeth in order to fabricate a set of custom bleaching trays. You will simply load the gel into the trays and insert them into your mouth. The amount of time necessary for treatment will depend on the strength of the whitening gel. Most patients enjoy full results of treatment after approximately two weeks.
Learn More about Professional Teeth Whitening
Stained teeth can make you feel self-conscious about your smile. Give yourself a boost in confidence with professional teeth whitening. Contact us online anytime or call our office at (360) 574-3061.