Teeth Whitening Irvine, CA
Dr. Ursula Levine, DDS | Levine Dentistry, Inc.
Many people wish that they had a brighter smile. Teeth can become discolored over time for a variety of reasons. Certain common foods and beverages, including red wine, coffee, tea, and curry, can cause staining of the teeth. Certain medications also cause staining, as does smoking. The aging process leads to a gradual yellowing of teeth, both from surface stains and because the white enamel gradually wears down, partly revealing the yellow dentin underneath.
Over-the-counter whitening products often don’t provide satisfying results, and must be used repeatedly over a long period of time. With professional teeth whitening, significant results can be seen quickly.
Understanding Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening, whether performed professionally in a dentist’s office or in the privacy of your own home, uses a bleaching agent to remove stains from the teeth. The bleaching agent breaks down the stain molecules that are stuck in the enamel or dentin, allowing them to be removed. This works best on certain types of stains. It is excellent at removing stains caused by organic molecules, including tobacco, curry, red wine, coffee, and tea.
However, there are some types of stains that will resist removal by a bleaching agent. Additionally, the bleaching agent cannot change the structure of the enamel or dentin itself, nor can it thicken enamel that has become thin. In patients for whom teeth whitening doesn’t provide the results that they are looking for, one can consider porcelain veneers as an alternative. These veneers will cover your teeth, giving you the bright smile you desire. Dental bonding is another option, for those who have minor staining on just one or a few stained teeth.
Types of Teeth Whitening
Dr. Levine offers custom take-home whitening kits and provides instruction for their use.
Custom take-home whitening kits are stronger and offer a better fit compared to what you can buy over the counter. The whitening agent is called carbamide peroxide, which has a longer shelf life than hydrogen peroxide. It is offered in a variety of strengths to accommodate those who have sensitive teeth. The trays are used each day for about two weeks, worn for approximately 30 minutes twice a day. Most patients find it convenient to whiten at home.
Keep in mind that the whitening agent will not lighten restorations like crowns, bonding material or veneers. It’s important to consider the color of any restorations as you are considering how bright you would like your teeth to be.