Having whiter teeth is considered a highly desirable feature. As it helps to enhance the appearance of a smile and is also a sign of good oral hygiene.
While having white teeth free of any yellowing or discolouration is something that is desirable. It can be hard to maintain, particularly as we age. Aside from aging, there are various lifestyle choices that can impact the appearance and colouring of our teeth. Tooth discolouration is commonly seen in smokers, people who drink a lot of coffee, wine drinkers and those who don’t practice a proper oral hygiene routine. Without proper brushing, plaque and tartar can form a layer of film on your teeth. Resulting in a more yellow appearance.
Teeth whitening treatments and agents are becoming increasingly popular to lighten stained or yellowed teeth. It has become one of the most popular dental treatments available. There are two types of staining that affect the appearance of teeth; extrinsic and intrinsic staining.
What is extrinsic staining?
Extrinsic staining is a superficial discolouration that is confined to the surface layer of the tooth. Otherwise known as the ‘enamel’. These sorts of stains are commonly caused by tobacco products, caffeine, sugary drinks, or poor oral hygiene. While extrinsic stains can be improved with brushing and over-the-counter whitening products, if the extrinsic stains are quite deep set in the enamel then these kinds of treatments will have little effect. This is when it is recommended that you get a professional tooth cleaning by a dentist or hygienist.
What is intrinsic staining?
Intrinsic staining is a change in colour to the inner structure of the tooth. As we get older the enamel becomes thinner allowing the more yellow underlayer of dentine to become visible. Other dental issues such as tooth trauma, tooth decay or certain medications taken as a child can all cause a change in tooth colour. In addition, as intrinsic discolouration is more deep set within the tooth, enamel and surface whitening treatments sometimes do little to correct intrinsic stains. In cases where surface whitening treatments are not successfully treating intrinsic stains, a dentist or hygienist may recommend veneers or crowns as a more successful alternative.
The tooth whitening process
Tooth whitening is the use of bleaching products to lighten the colour of the inert enamel/outer layer of teeth. It can be an easy and non-invasive way to enhance a smile. There are many natural shades of a tooth colour ranging from quite white, to a creamy-yellow and even grey. Your dentist will be able to advise you on the degree of whitening you will be able to achieve as whitening results will not be the same for everyone.
Tooth whitening is safe for your teeth and gums when done under the close supervision and guidance of your dentist. However, it is important to note that not everyone’s teeth are suitable for whitening. It is necessary to first have a check-up with your dentist. So they are able to assess your teeth for possible tooth sensitivity issues, tooth decay, existing restorations (which won’t lighten), gum disease or other conditions that could hinder the effectiveness of the teeth whitening procedure or lead to negative outcomes. One of the biggest risks associated with tooth whitening is when it is applied by someone who is not properly qualified to assess your teeth for any potential issues.
Here at Park Road Dental we simplify the teeth whitening process by using the “at-home” teeth whitening technique. We make individual fitting custom made whitening trays. We also provide comprehensive instructions on how to use the whitening gel in the comfort of your home. It is a convenient way to lighten your teeth with results usually achieved within a 14 day period. If you’d like to know, book a consultation with our friendly team today or call us on (03) 9584 4949.