Tooth enamel is the strong, protective layer of minerals that surrounds your teeth and shields them from bacteria and other harmful substances. Contrary to popular belief, enamel is not the source of your teeth’s color; tooth enamel is semi-translucent, revealing the denser dentin that lies underneath it. As the main structure of your tooth, dentin is what gives your teeth their pearly white visage, and dentin is what commonly absorbs the organic staining compounds that can dim your smile’s brightness. Professional teeth whitening techniques address the underlying issues of stained teeth to effectively whiten your smile without weakening your teeth’s structure or causing excessive sensitivity.
Using a potent whitening solution and a special light, your dentist can help you brighten your smile several shades in just one visit. After your appointment, or instead of in-office whitening, if you prefer, your dentist can custom-design a take-home kit that consists of form-fitting whitening trays that fit over your teeth. By applying a lower-concentration of peroxide to your teeth, the whitening trays allow you to gradually change the color of your teeth until they’re bright and stain-free, which typically takes 10-14 days when used as directed.
Though advanced teeth whitening treatments can help your smile bounce back from prominent stains, you can reduce the severity of teeth staining with proper care and maintenance. Brushing and flossing your teeth every day controls the amount of oral bacteria that produce acids and weaken tooth enamel, making it easier for your teeth to stain. Dental checkups and cleanings every six months will allow your dentist to periodically inspect your teeth for signs of staining or infection, and prescribe treatment before the issue becomes more severe. If ignored, or if caused by an internal tooth infection, your teeth’s stains may not respond favorably to teeth whitening.