9 Things You Should Know About Teeth Whitening

May 14, 2024

Is the staining or discoloration of your teeth making you self-conscious about your smile? Well, you’re not alone — discoloration and staining of the teeth are common reasons to seek dental care. Thankfully, there are safe and effective teeth whitening treatments that can make you feel great about showing off your pearly whites again. 

Read on to learn more about teeth whitening and where to find the best dentist in Santa Monica who can help you brighten your smile. 

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Teeth whitening works by using whitening agents, like hydrogen peroxide, that penetrate the enamel to reach and break down discolored molecules inside the teeth, making them look whiter. The process can be done professionally or with at-home kits, though professional treatments are stronger and longer lasting. Teeth whitening is mainly effective for surface stains and might not work for deeper discoloration from things like medications or dental work. 

This procedure is best done under the supervision of a dentist, as at-home teeth whitening products can cause more harm than good, including:

  • Damage to the enamel of your teeth
  • Worsening discoloration
  • Gum irritation

Why are my teeth discolored when I brush often?

There are several reasons why teeth can become discolored, even if you brush as often as recommended. Some of the most common causes of tooth discoloration include:

  • Certain foods and drinks, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and berries 
  • Smoking or using other tobacco products 
  • Enamel that naturally wears down as you age
  • Genetics that make some people more susceptible to staining 
  • Certain medications 

Facts about Professional Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a great solution for most people, but there are a few things you should know before scheduling your appointment!

1. Teeth Whitening Isn't for Everyone

Teeth whitening is a popular way to help improve the appearance of your smile — but it isn’t a great option for everyone. Here are a few things you should consider before deciding if teeth whitening is right for you:

  • Your age: Teeth whitening is generally not recommended for any under the age of 16. Some dental offices may require teeth whitening patients to be at least 18 years old. 
  • Your dental health: If you have gum disease or tooth decay, teeth whitening may not be the best option for you. Whitening agents can irritate sensitive gums and also may not be effective on teeth that are discolored due to decay. If you do have cavities, consider getting them repaired with composite fillings
  • Your dietary habits: Coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco are all known to cause teeth discoloration. If you continue to consume these foods or smoke after teeth whitening, your teeth may become discolored again.
  • Your expectations: While teeth whitening can improve the appearance of your teeth, it may not be able to completely remove all stains or discoloration. The results of teeth whitening may vary depending on the individual.
  • You have dental implants or porcelain veneers: Because veneers and dental implants are made from non-porous materials, they cannot become stained or discolored. 

2. There Are Several Teeth-Whitening Options

If you're looking to whiten your teeth, there are a variety of options available to you. Some options include: 

  • In-office whitening: This option is done in your dental office and is a popular choice for those who want quick and dramatic results. Your dentist will apply a strong bleaching gel to your teeth and use a special light to activate it. This process typically takes about an hour and can lighten your teeth by several shades.
  • At-home whitening kits: This convenient and affordable option typically includes a set of custom-fitted trays and a bleaching gel that is prescribed by your dentist. You'll wear the trays for a specified amount of time each day, usually for a week or two. While at-home kits may not be as effective as in-office treatments, they can still produce noticeable results.
  • Whitening toothpaste: This is a toothpaste that contains special ingredients that help remove surface stains from your teeth. While this may not be as effective as other whitening methods, it can help maintain your results after a professional treatment.

3. Teeth Whitening Is Safe

Some people are concerned about the safety of teeth whitening. The good news is that teeth whitening is safe when done properly and under the supervision of your dentist. You may experience some temporary side effects, such as sensitive teeth and gum irritation. Teeth whitening side effects are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days. 

4. You May Need Future Treatments

While teeth whitening treatments can effectively brighten your smile, it's not a permanent solution. The longevity of your teeth whitening results will depend on a variety of factors, including your oral hygiene habits, diet, and lifestyle choices. For example, if you consume a lot of coffee, tea, or red wine, your teeth may become stained again more quickly.

It's important to practice good oral hygiene to help maintain your teeth whitening results for as long as possible. This includes brushing and flossing daily and keeping regular dental exams. 

5. Teeth Whitening May Take More Than One Treatment

Several factors can affect the effectiveness of teeth whitening treatments, including the severity of your staining, the type of treatment you choose, and your overall oral health. While some people see results after just one treatment, others may need multiple treatments to achieve their desired look. 

Teeth whitening is a great way to achieve a bright smile and regain your self-esteem. With professional teeth whitening, you can rest assured that you’ll get the results you want without damaging your teeth and gums. 

Where to Find Teeth Whitening Services in Santa Monica 

Serving those in the heart of the film and entertainment industry, Dr. Farahmand understands how important it is that your smile shines as bright as possible. That’s why she and the entire team at Santa Monica Dental Office are committed to exceeding the expectations of our patients. Using only the latest and most effective technology, Dr. Farahmand is passionate about seeing every patient leave with a confident, healthy smile. 

Ready to brighten your smile — and the room — with the best professional teeth whitening in Santa Monica?

Give us a call and schedule an appointment.

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