What is your new year resolution?

Posted on: January 10, 2013

zoom-teeth-whitening

New year’s resolutions commonly revolve around creating a better you. Sometimes this is on the inside, volunteering more often, training for your first marathon or going back to school. Sometimes it’s on the outside, dieting to lose weight, a new haircut and, of course what we hear most often, a cleaner more youthful smile.

Dental bleaching, more commonly known as tooth whitening, has become more and more popular throughout the years. Tooth bleaching is not a modern invention. Ancient Romans, for example, utilized urine and goat milk as a product to make and keep their teeth whiter. Thankfully we have better options for you now. There are many methods available, such as toothpastes, bleaching strips, bleaching pen, bleaching gel, laser bleaching, and natural bleaching.

Many bleaching methods use carbamide peroxide which reacts with water to form hydrogen peroxide. Prescription bleaching solutions are PH balanced and may contain ingredients such as fluoride to help start the remineralization process. The peroxide oxidizing agent penetrates the porosities in the rod-like crystal structure of enamel and bleaches stain deposits in the dentin. Power bleaching uses light energy to accelerate the process of bleaching in a dental office. Some natural methods are also used by some such as Strawberries and lemons. They are sometimes used by squeezing the juice on the teeth and lightly brushing for a couple of minutes. Extreme caution should be exercised with this method as the high acidity can easily damage the enamel, much more so if it is not promptly rinsed out completely with warm water.

Teeth can become stained by bacterial pigments, food-goods and vegetables rich with carotenoids or xanthonoids. Certain antibacterial medications (like tetracycline) can also cause teeth stains or a reduction in the brilliance of the enamel. Ingesting colored liquids like coffee, tea and red wine can also discolor teeth. Rule of thumb is that anything that would stain a white shirt could also stain teeth.

Some common causes for staining are:
  1. Tetracyclines
  2. Enamel hypoplasia
  3. Fluorosis
  4. Age of the tooth: the teeth become more yellow or opaque and generally have a darker hue
  5. Tea
  6. Coffee
  7. Tobacco ( tar and nicotine )
  8. Wine and cola drinks consumed in excess
  9. Other foods and oral tobacco products with strong content of pigments
  10. Chlorhexidine (chemical bactericidal and bacteriostatic prescription rinse )

External staining can be minimized by limiting exposure to pigmented food or drinks. Maintaining regular hygiene appointments and good homecare can also help minimize external staining. If allowed to remain on the enamel, external stains can become intrinsic and will require bleaching to be removed. To determine the right type of bleaching for you the ADA recommends to have one’s teeth checked by a dentist before undergoing any whitening method. The dentist should examine the patient thoroughly: take a health and dental history (including allergies and sensitivities), observe hard and soft tissues, placement and conditions of restorations, and sometimes x-rays to determine the nature and depth of possible irregularities. Bleaching is not recommended if teeth have decay or infected gums.

As a thank you to all our patients who refer 3+ patients Dr Han will offer free custom bleaching trays and solution to get you started!


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