Clear Aligners

What to know about teeth whitening

Posted on August 13th, 2021

The demand and interest in teeth whitening have exploded in the last 20 years. Nearly 90% of patients ask their orthodontist for a recommendation for teeth whitening according to the American Orthodontic Association. If you feel like your smile is lacking some sparkle or is a bit more yellow than it used to be, you certainly are not alone.

Are you considering teeth whitening? Here are the most frequently asked questions we get about teeth whitening.

Why did my teeth change color?

Over time, teeth can begin to change color for a number of reasons. These include:

Food & drink Coffee, tea, and red wine are known to be some of the major staining culprits. All three drinks have intense color pigments called chromogens that attach to your tooth enamel (the outermost layer of your tooth).

Tobacco use There are two chemicals found in tobacco that cause discoloration on teeth: tar and nicotine. Tar is naturally dark and nicotine is colorless until it is mixed with oxygen—it then turns into a yellowish, stain-causing substance.

Age With time, your teeth’ enamel begins to get thinner. Underneath your enamel is a softer area called dentin. As your enamel wears down, more of your dentin will appear which has a yellowish hue.

How does teeth whitening work?

The process of whitening your teeth is simple. Whitening products contain one of two tooth bleaches. These are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Both of these bleaches work to break stains into smaller pieces, which ultimately makes the color less concentrated and brightens your smile.

Are there any side effects from teeth whitening?

When using an at-home teeth whitener it is highly recommended to use a very small, pea-sized amount of gel on each tooth. Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity. This happens when the peroxide in the whitener gets through the enamel to the soft layer of dentin and irritates the nerve of your tooth. This sensitivity is temporary. We recommend whitening your teeth only once a week.

__Does teeth whitener work on all teeth? __

Unfortunately, no it does not. This is why it is important to talk to your orthodontist or general dentist before you begin whitening your teeth, as whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. Whitening does not work on caps, veneers, crowns, or fillings. Make sure to talk to your doctor before starting any whitening regimen.

Bonus: all patients that start orthodontic treatment with us receive whitening gel they can use with their clear aligners. What’re you waiting for? Brighten your smile while you achieve a healthy, confident one too!

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