Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tooth Whitening Offers Many a Brighter Smile

Tooth whitening is a procedure that lightens teeth and helps to remove discoloration and stains. It is probably the most popular cosmetic dental procedure because it can significantly improve the appearance of teeth at much less cost and inconvenience than other cosmetic dental techniques. A thin coating forms on your teeth daily and this coating picks up stains. The outer layer of each tooth, called the enamel, contains pores that hold stains. Tooth whitening is a procedure that needs to be repeated more than once to achieve the desired effect.

The most common reasons for stained teeth are tobacco, tea/coffee, and aging; all of these stain the surface of the teeth. Stains can affect the inside of the tooth, also and are called intrinsic stains. Intrinsic stains can be caused by exposure to too much fluoride as a child while your teeth were developing. Antibiotics containing tetracycline taken during the second half of pregnancy can also cause intrinsic stains.

Before teeth are whitened, cavities need to be treated because the solution used to whiten teeth can penetrate tooth decay and reach the inner areas of the tooth. Whitening will not work on exposed tooth roots because there is no enamel on the roots. Crowns and porcelain veneers cannot be whitened. Tooth whitening works best on teeth that have been stained by food, drinks or age.

Whitening can be done at home or in your dentist's office. For whitening done in the office, the dentist will usually take photographs your teeth making it easier for him to monitor how the process is going for you. Whitening in the office typically takes just under an hour and may involve four to six visits.

For whitening at home, your cosmetic dentist will direct you to use trays custom made from impressions taken of your teeth. Whitening at home usually takes two to three weeks.

To find out about all of the exciting procedures and treatments offered in cosmetic dentistry to whiten teeth and improve your smile, please contact Dr. Normal Huefner and his staff at Sensational Smiles in Laguna Niguel, California. Dr. Huefner serves patients throughout Orange County including Irvine, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach and Santa Margarita.

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