In order to have that perfect megawatt smile, you also need a perfect set of pearly white teeth. And thankfully, there's a teeth whitening treatment that can help us achieve a brighter smile! Interested? Preview talked to Dr. Micah Ramos of Smile Doctor Dental Care Center to help us understand everything there is to know about having our teeth whitened. Here are the things we found out!
1. Anything that you put in your mouth can stain your teeth.
"Food and diet are the most common factors contributing to teeth discoloration," says Dr. Micah. "Habitual consumption of colored food and beverages, like coffee, tea, red wine, etc. can quickly stain teeth. Another factor is smoking. Bad oral hygiene can also discolor teeth, especially when stain-reducing substances are not routinely removed from your teeth, which leads to bacteria build-up. Aging is another factor, because as we age, the enamel of our teeth wears and the yellow color of the underlying dentin tissue layer shows through. Other less common factors involve medicine intake, like tetracyclines and anti-histamines."
2. You can have your teeth whitened even if you have naturally yellowed teeth.
"Teeth whitening is ideal for patients who have naturally healthy teeth without restorations since whitening treatments are not intended to lighten artificial teeth, caps, crowns, composites, or other restorative materials. Patients whose teeth have yellow tones are most likely to respond to treatment."
3. The procedure is non-surgical.
Dr. Micah shares that you only apply whitening gels to achieve brighter teeth. "These contain active ingredients, like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, that penetrate your enamel and break stains into smaller particles, which results in lighter and brighter teeth."
4. There may be some discomfort.
"24 hours after treatment, many patients experience tooth sensitivity or pain. This is normal and will subside eventually. But if you've already been experiencing sensitivity, recessions, or other dental conditions, these may prolong the discomfort or pain after treatment. Also, some patients may also be sensitive to whitening agents that can cause oral tissue irritations." That said, it's best to consult with your dentist before trying out online-bought whitening kits.
5. White teeth don't always mean healthy teeth.
"Teeth whitening is not done to make your teeth healthy. It's just a cosmetic procedure to help stained teeth become whiter, for you to have a brighter smile and to make you feel better about yourself."
6. No one can achieve the same shade of white teeth.
"I don't think there are naturally 'paper-white' teeth since the enamel itself is bluish white and sometimes translucent, so the yellow color of the dentin underneath tends to shows through," Dr. Micah explains. "With the whitening treatment, the outcome depends on how your teeth will react to the chemicals. The level or shade of white your teeth can obtain will vary, based on several factors like existing shade, genetics, diet, etc."
7. It's not permament.
"Whitened teeth usually last for two to three years, depending on your lifestyle." Dr. Micah clarifies. "If you feel that your teeth are becoming yellow again, then you can always re-do the whitening treatment. Take-home kits are also an option."
8. You need to watch what you eat.
"Patients may use whitening toothpastes to help maintain their white teeth and should refrain from consuming substances that could cause discoloration (especially for the first 48 hours after treatment). This includes coffee, red wine, colas, teas, tobacco products, ketchup, soy sauce, and other red sauces."