Tooth Whitening

How white can I make my teeth?

How white your teeth can become from bleaching and whitening is a common question with no direct 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. Dr. Chopra will use a shade guide to measure the existing shade of your teeth, and will give you a shade guide to take home with you to evaluate your progress.

Not all of your teeth are the same natural color. Teeth will usually show the following general colors: reddish-brown, reddish-yellow, gray, and reddish-gray. Usually your eye teeth (canines) 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. How white teeth will become from a given procedure will vary from person to person.


What causes discoloration of the teeth?

Teeth enamel discoloration can be caused by staining, aging, or chemical damage to teeth. As the tooth continues to age, more yellowish dentin is deposited on the inside of the tooth, making the pulp chamber smaller, and this can give the tooth a yellowish, reddish, or grayish color. Some of the more common extrinsic causes of teeth discoloration are medications, coffee, tea or cigarettes. People who drink significant amounts of cola soft drinks can experience similar staining.

Aside from staining, there are other factors that can affect the color of an individual"s teeth. Genetics can playa role. Some people have naturally brighter enamel than others. Disease can also be a factor and certain medications can cause a discoloration of the teeth.


Types of Teeth Whitening Methods

Teeth whitening is used to correct discoloration of the teeth by removing the brown and yellow staining. The term "teeth whitening" can refer to a number of techniques to improve the brightness of the patient's teeth. Among them are chemical whitening, mild acid whitening, abrasive teeth brightening and the newest technique, laser teeth whitening.


Tooth Bleaching

Teeth bleaching is chemical process used to lighten the color of the patient's teeth. The procedure can be performed entirely In the office or it can be performed by you in your home using materials provided by Dr. Chopra. The home method is often used because it saves the patient from having to make an office visit for each treatment.

Before starting on the home teeth whitening program, Dr. Chopra's staff will make molds (impressions) of your teeth, and then fabricate a custom mouth tray for your teeth. The custom tray is an important part of the treatment. It ensures that the correct amount of whitening solution is used and that your teeth are properly exposed to the whitening solution. The custom made mouth tray provides for a better fit than a one-size-fits-all mouth tray to help increase the margin of patient safety.

The steps in the home teeth whitening regimen are fairly straightforward. We will provide you with the materials and instructions and also answer any questions that you may have about the routine.

We currently offer 2 types of whitening programs. One option is to wear the trays with the whitening gel for two hours, and the second option is to wear the trays while you sleep. Typically, you will follow your home teeth whitening regimen for two to three weeks, after which time you will return to the office for a follow up visit.


How long does tooth whitening last?

People typically have their teeth whitened to improve their appearance. Whiter teeth are associated with beauty and a healthier lifestyle. When people have a brighter smile, they tend to smile more often and are less self-conscious.

In addition, a whiter smile tends to minimize the appearance of facial wrinkles, giving way to a more youthful and energetic appearance. Finally, a whiter smile gives people to whom you are speaking a place to focus on and gives you a friendlier appearance.

Although bleaching is very effective, there can be short term disadvantages, such as sore gums or sensitive teeth from the whitening gel. This disappears when the whitening use is discontinued. Some individuals are more chemically sensitive. If you are one of them, inform Dr. Chopra so that you can be tested for sensitivity to the solution.

Research indicates that bleaching is completely effective in more than 78% of people. In cases of serious teeth discoloration, bleaching may not be the best choice. Veneers or crowns may be the superior choice. Bleaching is usually the first solution to try due to its lower cost. If your teeth show darker than normal discoloration, you may need to whiten your teeth for a longer period of time, and by using more material than what the manufacturer's kit comes with.


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