Florence Family Dentistry - Dr. Ashley Covington DMD

. . 1527 Heritage Ln, Florence, SC 29505
   (843) 665-6200

Why would I want my teeth whitened?

There are a number of reasons why you might get your teeth whitened. Everyone is different; and just as our hair and skin color vary, so do our teeth. Very few people have brilliant-white teeth, and our teeth can also become more discolored as we get older. Your teeth can also be stained on the surface through food and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine and blackcurrant. Smoking can also stain teeth. Calculus or tartar can also affect the color of teeth. Some people may have staining under the surface, which can be caused by certain antibiotics or tiny cracks in the teeth which take up stains.

What treatments Tooth Whitening do for stained teeth?

Ask Dr Covington about tooth-whitening options. They include a number of over-the-counter whitening systems, whitening toothpastes, and the latest high-tech option–laser tooth whitening. For maximum whitening, experts agree that peroxide is usually the way to go.

Supervised bleaching procedures that are done in-office and at-home have become among the most popular treatment options. In some cases, the procedure is performed entirely in the office, using a light or heat source to speed up the bleaching process. In other cases, an oral health care professional gets the procedure started during an office visit and then gives you what you need to complete it at home. Still another popular procedure is one that you complete entirely at home.

At-home procedures, sometimes called nightguard vital bleaching, consist of placing a bleaching solution, usually a peroxide mixture, in a tray (nightguard) that has been custom fitted for your mouth by an oral health care professional. The bleaching solutions may vary in potency and may be worn for an hour, or throughout the night. Dr Covington can advise you on the appropriate type of application and the length of time needed to whiten your teeth, based on the severity of tooth discoloration and your specific needs.

How effective is Tooth Bleaching ?

Bleaching is effective in lightning most stains caused by age, tobacco, coffee, and tea. Based on clinical studies, 96 percent of patients with these kinds of stains experience some lightning effect. Other types of stains, such as those produced by tetracycline use or fluorosis (too much fluoride), respond to bleaching less reliably. And one cosmetic dentist points out that bleaching systems are not fully predictable. If you have a tooth-color filling when your teeth are bleached, the filling will stay yellow–dental restorations do not change color when tooth whitener is applied.

Are there any side effects to Tooth Whitening?

In some studies, patients have experienced uncomfortable short-term side effects when having teeth bleached. Hydrogen peroxide can increase temperature sensitivity in the teeth, particularly at higher concentrations, and nightguards often cause gum irritation.

And overzealous use of over-the-counter home bleaching products can wear away tooth enamel, especially with solutions that contain acid. Therefore, bleaching is a procedure best done under the care of your dentist.

Still, the general health risks of bleaching systems are minimal as far as your body is concerned. Applications are controlled so that you don’t swallow hydrogen peroxide.

How white can your teeth become?

How white your teeth can become from bleaching and whitening is a common question with a very subjective answer. Some whitening procedures claim they can whiten your teeth by up to nine shades, but that is highly unlikely. Just a change of two or three shades will make a significant difference in just about anyone’s smile. There is no one standard system in the dental field to measure and determine tooth color.

Not all of your teeth are the same natural color. Usually your eye teeth tend to be darker than the others, your front teeth are typically the whitest, and molars tend to be a shade between the two. The goal for everyone is to achieve their individual optimum whiteness while still looking natural. During your first consultation for tooth whitening, Dr Covington will go over what you personally can expect for your specific smile. How white teeth will become from a given procedure will vary from person to person. The structure of your teeth and the type of procedure implemented will affect the outcome.

How long will my teeth stay whiter?

The effects of whitening can last up to three years. However, this will vary from person to person. The effect is less likely to last as long if you smoke, or eat or drink products that can stain your teeth. Ask Dr. Covington for her opinion before you start the treatment for Tooth Whitening.

How can I look after my teeth once they have been whitened by Florence Family Dentistry Tooth Whitening?

You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drink you have that can stain teeth. Also, remember that stopping smoking can help prevent discolouring and staining. We recommend the following tips to care for your teeth:

  • brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • cut down on how often you have sugary snacks and drinks
  • visit your dentist at least once a year