Whiter, Brighter teeth! I want them and I want them now!
There are a couple of ways to whiten your teeth and the best treatment depends on why they're discoloured in the first place.
Getting a regular check up and clean is definitely the place to start. This will help determine if your teeth are discoloured from outside sources or from within the structure of the tooth.
External stains sit on the outside of your tooth. Examples of external stains are from smoking, tea, coffee and mouthwash stains (YES mouthwash!). They are very easily managed with a scale and polish that you get in your regular check up and clean. Once all that black/brown grit is off you may find you're happy with the way your teeth are looking and no longer need to consider teeth whitening. If that's not the case, read on.
TEETH WHITENING WITH BLEACH
If you aren't happy with the underlying colour of your teeth (and they still look yellow after a clean and polish) then you've got a couple of options; and bleaching may be one of them.
Bleaching your teeth using bleach specifically designed for teeth lightens and brightens them. There's two options for bleaching. They both use the bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide but differ in strength and time required to get the lightening effect.
In-chair bleaching uses a high concentration bleach. This procedure is done in the dental chair. Guards are put over your gums and then we apply the bleach for three, 8-minute rounds using a blue light to accelerate the process.
The whole procedure takes about 90 minutes. When you walk out of the practice your teeth are really white and bright!
You will be given a set of custom trays and some lower concentration bleach to do touch-ups at home. We recommend you have in-chair bleaching no more than once per year. As your teeth dull again you can use your custom trays and take home bleach to bring the sparkle back. The best time to have in-chair bleaching is soon after your exam, scale and clean.
In some cases bleaching is not the whole answer!
If you are unhappy with the shape or position of your teeth, if they're chipped, or if you've had a root canal or trauma to your tooth and it looks grey then bleaching is unlikely to completely fix the problem.
Also, bleaching will not change the colour of any fillings or caps already on your teeth. Likewise, if your teeth have very thin enamel, or they are translucent (see through) at the edges bleaching is not a good idea. You may have more success with veneers or crowns.