Our teeth are usually fresh and white when they erupt from our gums in infancy. Unfortunately, foods we eat and drink stain and discolor them no matter how well we clean them. This is due to acids and pigments in the food, as well as how often we consume them.
A Brief History of Tooth Whitening
White teeth have always been considered proof of wealth and health in ancient and historic times. In long-ago Egypt, a paste of grinded pumice stone and wine vinegar was applied to the teeth. Across the Mediterranean, ancient Romans thought the ammonia in urine whitened teeth, so they used it regularly. Later in history, the 17th century, barbers were considered tooth experts and scraped layers of enamel off teeth and applied acid to whiten them (though they had no idea they were actually weakening tooth structure and causing tooth decay.)
Thank goodness our modern dentists found better ways to help their patients get white, clean, healthy teeth. Sometime in the 1980s, peroxide was used in an antiseptic gel for the gums. As they experimented with ways to keep the peroxide on the gums longer, they discovered the whitening side effects of peroxide on the teeth. Since then, dental professionals have advanced the knowledge into the most popular cosmetic dental procedure,
Professional Whitening Options
Today, white teeth still mark ones success, attractiveness, and how well they care for themselves. Professional whitening (sometimes called power bleaching, power whitening, or chairside whitening) is a safe, mostly pain-free, and precise use of a high concentration of bleaching gel. This procedure offers almost immediately visible results usually in a single visit to your dentist.
Another professional teeth whitening option is to do so with a laser procedure, which was originally approved by the FDA in 1996. Many patients at that time complained of inflammation and pain from the traditional bleaching process. Lasers target very specific areas, thus eliminating these problems. This single-appointment procedure can lighten your teeth up to 10 shades whiter than they are when you arrive.
Keep in mind that laser whitening is more costly and takes a long appointment. A large part of that time is to cover the soft oral tissues with beeswax to keep the active ingredients the laser responds to from damaging them. Often an argon laser is utilized in these procedures, radiating light to speed up the chemical response that changes the color of your teeth. Once this is achieved, your dentist will use fluoride to add strength and shine to your now-whitened teeth.
Let Us Help You Get the Whitest Smile Available
Next Friday, we’ll post about some cheaper at-home options on the market. But we can’t stress enough how much more effective in office whitening. Our staff would love to help you get a wonderful, white smile for the holidays or New Year, and it’s more cost-effective than you might think! Give us a call at (817)261-2747 to schedule an appointment!