Teeth Whitening 101: Everything You Need to Know!

Wednesday January 10, 2018 by
Melissa Brown, DDS

Wondering about whitening? We’ve got the scoop right here. Learn what your whitening options are, how teeth whitening works, and what we use to professionally whiten teeth in our office.

What Causes Yellow Teeth?

There are a number of reasons people develop yellow teeth. The most common causes include:

  • Smoking
  • Consuming dark liquids like red wine, coffee, tea, or cola
  • Trauma
  • Aging
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Excessive fluoride or exposure to tetracycline antibiotics during childhood

Most people don’t consider how aging affects the color of your teeth. The outer layer of your teeth is comprised of enamel. Beneath that enamel is dentin, a yellow layer of tissue. As you age, enamel starts to thin. When that happens, dentin shows through, making teeth appear yellow.

What Are My Teeth Whitening Options?

If you’d like to whiten your teeth, there are several different options available to you:

  • Whitening Toothpaste. Whitening toothpaste uses chemical agents to whiten teeth. However, these toothpastes typically only lighten the color of teeth by about one shade. This option offers the most subtle results.
  • At-Home Bleaching. This includes gels you paint on your teeth, teeth whitening strips, and mouth trays you wear that contain whitening solution. While these at-home bleaching methods all work, there are a few drawbacks. For one thing, it takes time to see results, and the results are more modest than what you would achieve with a professional whitening. These methods also aren’t recommended for people who have sensitive teeth or gums.
  • In-Office Whitening. In-office professional whitening offers the best results, typically whitening teeth about 8 shades. While professional whitening costs more than the other methods, the results are immediate and more dramatic. Because the whitening is performed by a professional, this method is also safer than at-home bleaching.

Does Teeth Whitening Work for Everyone?

Unfortunately, whitening doesn’t work for everyone. For instance, yellow discoloration can typically be improved with whitening. However, brown or gray-toned teeth may not respond well or at all to whitening.

Whitening also won’t work if the discoloration was caused by medications or an injury. Finally, whitening doesn’t work on caps, veneers, crowns, or fillings.

What Professional Whitening Option Is Available at Murray Hill Dental?

At Murray Hill Dental, we use Phillips Zoom whitening, the #1 most requested whitening brand by patients. The entire procedure takes 45 minutes to an hour and lightens teeth about 8 shades. Our patients really love the results and appreciate how quick the process is. To learn more about our in-office whitening, click here.

If you’d like to schedule in-office professional whitening, we’d recommend having your teeth cleaned a couple weeks prior to treatment. To set up your dental appointment, just click here.

Alternatively, you can call us. To reach our N. Murray Hill Road office servicing the Western Columbus area, please contact 614.427.0116. To schedule an appointment at our Northern location in Westerville, call 614.508.0044. We’re pleased to offer evening office hours for your convenience.