There are many things everyday that cause surface stains on your teeth, from drinking coffee to richly pigmented berries like blueberries. Smoking also causes discoloration of the teeth.
Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day is a good start to prevent staining. Unfortunately, in some cases, teeth will still yellow from everyday use. Don't you worry though, modern dentistry has a quick solution for you. Using a laser to speed up the process, your teeth will appear noticeably brighter after even a single treatment. The whole procedure takes 30 minutes.
Before a laser whitening treatment
It's important that you have your teeth checked for cavities and other defects before getting a whitening. You will only cause more pain and discomfort if you have issues with your teeth and get a laser whitening treatment done. Many patients chose to get their whitening procedure done after they've completed a check-up and cleaning with a dental hygienist.
Whitening will also only work on natural tooth enamel. It will not work on ceramic or porcelain crowns or veneers.
How it works
Your dental hygienist will be sure to cover your gums with a protective plastic coating to ensure that the whitening fluid doesn't touch any soft tissue in your mouth.
Once the gums are covered, a gel is painted onto your teeth. This is the whitening agent, which will work into the enamel of your teeth.
The laser light will be applied to your teeth. This takes the most patience, sitting still with the laser pointed in your mouth for approximately 20 minutes. There can be some sensitivity at this point with some patients. Always let your hygienist know if you are not able to tolerate any sensitivity that may come with a laser whitening treatment. The laser can be shut off at any point!
After the laser has worked its magic, you will remove everything from your mouth and brush away any left over gel.
Your hygienist will show you your new teeth in a natural day light!
After the treatment
It's very important not to expose your teeth to foods and beverages that are highly pigmented for at least 12 hours. This includes black coffee, red wine, blueberries, and tumeric.
Note that light affects how we perceive color and brightness. Your teeth will not look the exact same in the natural light of our office as they will fluorescent lighting at home or in a washroom.
Some people like to come back for follow up treatments to achieve the brightness they desire. Laser whitening will not harm your teeth, so you can return several times to get the result you are looking for.
Laser whitening will not keep your teeth permanently brightened. Unfortunately tooth discoloration will continue to happen as you go about your life over the years. You can keep discoloration to a minimum by having regular cleanings with your hygienist, brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes, drinking water after drinks and meals, and flossing daily.
A laser whitening appointment takes only 30 minutes, compared to weeks using bleaching trays. Results vary patient to patient, but on average your teeth will appear a couple shades brighter. Depending on the color of your teeth, and your desired outcome, it may be recommended to come back for 2-3 treatments.