Posts for tag: teeth whitening

By Dr. David L. Carlson
November 11, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  
StainsfromWithinaToothRequireProfessionalWhitening

Whether performed in a dental office or using a home kit, teeth whitening applications are quite effective for bleaching exterior (extrinsic) stains on enamel surfaces. But what if your discoloration comes from inside the tooth? In this case, extrinsic teeth whitening won’t work — you’ll need to undergo an “internal bleaching” method, which can only be performed in a dentist's office.

There are a number of causes for “intrinsic” staining, including too much fluoride exposure or tetracycline use during childhood. One of the more common causes, though, occurs from root canal treatments used to remove the remnants of the pulp tissue inside a tooth’s pulp chamber and root canals. Certain cements used during the procedure to help seal in the filling material and leftover blood pigments can cause the tooth to darken over time.

To alleviate this discoloration, we use a bleaching agent, usually sodium perborate mixed with a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide to achieve a safe, accelerated color change. After determining that the root canal filling is still intact and the bone is healthy, we create a small cavity in the back of the tooth to access the pulp chamber. The chamber is cleaned of any debris or stained material and then thoroughly irrigated. The original root canal filling is then sealed off to prevent leakage from the bleaching agent.

We then place the bleaching agent in the cleaned-out space with a cotton pellet and seal it in with a temporary adhesive. This step is repeated for several days until we achieve the desired shade of white. Once that occurs we then seal the dentin with a more permanent filling and then restore the cavity we created with a composite resin bonded to the enamel and dentin.

If we’re successful in achieving the desired color, intrinsic whitening could help you avoid more costly options like veneers or crowns for an otherwise healthy and attractive tooth. The end result would be the same — a beautiful smile without those unsightly stains.

If you would like more information on treating internal tooth stains, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Whitening Traumatized Teeth.”

DeterminingtheRightWhiteningApproachisKeytoBrighteningaDullSmile

Bright, naturally white teeth are a key component in a beautiful smile. But the opposite is also true: nothing diminishes an otherwise attractive smile more than stained or discolored teeth.

There is good news, however, about tooth staining: it can be greatly reduced with the right whitening technique. But before taking action we need to first uncover the cause for the staining — whether from the outside or inside of the tooth, or a combination of both.

If it’s an external cause — known as extrinsic staining — our diet is usually the source. Foods and beverages that contain tannins, like red wine, coffee or tea fall in this category, as do foods with pigments called carotenes as found in carrots and oranges. Besides limiting consumption of stain-causing foods and maintaining daily oral hygiene, you can also diminish extrinsic staining with a bleaching application.

There are two basic ways to approach this: with either a professional application at our office or with a home kit purchased at a pharmacy or retail store. Although both types use similar chemicals, the professional application is usually stronger and the whitening effect is obtained quicker and may last longer.

Discoloration can also occur within a tooth, known as intrinsic staining, and for various reasons. It can occur during tooth development, as with childhood overexposure to fluoride or from the antibiotic tetracycline. Poor development of enamel or dentin (the main sources of natural tooth color), tooth decay, root canal treatments or trauma are also common causes of intrinsic discoloration.

There are techniques to reduce the effects of intrinsic staining, such as placing a bleaching agent inside the tooth following a root canal treatment. In some cases, the best approach may be to restore the tooth with a crown or porcelain veneer. The latter choice is a thin layer of dental material that is permanently bonded to the outer, visible portion of the tooth: it’s life-like color and appearance covers the discoloration, effectively renewing the person’s smile.

If you’ve been embarrassed by stained teeth, visit us for a complete examination. We’ll recommend the right course of action to turn your dull smile into a bright, attractive one.

If you would like more information on treatments for teeth staining, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Whitening.”

By Dr. David L. Carlson
December 27, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

The foods you love can cause your teeth to look dull and yellow. Coffee, tea and wine may darken your tooth enamel, but even foods that teeth whiteningare good for you, like blueberries, can cause staining. Fortunately, teeth whitening can erase unattractive stains. Wheaton, IL, dentists Dr. David Carlson and Dr. Michael Schuiling share some information about the whitening process.

How does teeth whitening work?

Teeth whitening removes stains with hydrogen peroxide, a very effective natural stain remover. The chemical penetrates tiny pores in tooth enamel where stains lurk and breaks up the pigments, leaving your teeth brighter and whiter. Although hydrogen peroxide is found in both over-the-counter and professional whitening gels, dentists use much stronger formulations of hydrogen peroxide for more impressive results.

It may take weeks or months to notice even a slight difference in your smile if you use drugstore whitening kits. Professional whitening offers a simpler solution. You'll only need to spend an hour at our Wheaton office to experience a three- to eight-shade improvement in your teeth. Take-home whitening trays are also available for at-home whitening and touch-ups.

What types of stains does whitening eliminate?

Teeth whitening gets rid of stains caused by foods and beverages that contain dark pigments. In addition to coffee and berries, other staining culprits include cola, sports drinks, popsicles and soy sauce. Whitening also removes tobacco stains. Although whitening is very effective in eliminating these stains, it won't have an effect on dental restorations, such as crowns and bridges.

What happens during teeth whitening?

Preparation is a particularly important step in the whitening process. Before your treatment begins, your teeth will be professionally cleaned to remove plaque and tartar, then your lips and cheeks will be gently pulled back from your teeth with retractors. A special gel will also be applied to protect your gums and roots. After the whitening gel is applied to your teeth, they'll be exposed to the ZOOM Whitespeed light, which will enhance the effects of bleaching.

Make over your smile with teeth whitening! Call Wheaton, IL, dentists Dr. David Carlson and Dr. Michael Schuiling at (630) 653-9002 to schedule your appointment.

By Dr. David L. Carlson
October 28, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Contrary to popular belief, all teeth stains are not created equal. While over the counter teeth whitening products like toothpastes, gels teeth whiteningand strips can help to slightly diminish the intensity of everyday stains and discolorations from factors like drinking too much coffee and red wine over a period of time, certain types of stains can only be removed by a dentist. Dr. David Carlson, your dentist in Wheaton, IL, recommends professional teeth whitening treatments for patients looking to significantly whiten their teeth by several shades, and for certain types of stains that cannot be removed with over the counter surface whitening products.

Professional Teeth Whitening in Wheaton

Although stained and discolored teeth may generally look the same to the naked eye, the color of the stain depends on what causes it, and also determines the best method for effectively removing the stain and lightening the shade of the tooth. Surface whitening treatments may not be effective for teeth that have been restored with cosmetic dental treatments like bonding, porcelain veneers or crowns.

Professional teeth whitening treatments are most effective for stains caused by wear and tear of the enamel, the surface layer that protects our teeth from external factors like the food and drinks that we consume on a daily basis. The most common causes of surface stains to the teeth include coffee, tea, wine, dark fruits and sauces like berries and soy sauce, and smoking. If your tooth discoloration is caused primarily by your diet, you are an excellent candidate for professional teeth whitening treatments, which use a higher concentration of professional grade whitening agents not available over the counter.

Consult with a dentist to discuss removal options for stains caused by damage to the dentin, the layer below the enamel.

Contact a Dentist in Wheaton

Our teeth are always at risk for staining and dullness due to our diet, lifestyle habits, trauma and certain medications. A professional teeth whitening procedure can drastically improve your smile in a simple visit to the dentist. For more information, contact the office of Dr. Carlson by calling (630) 653-9002 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Carlson today.

KathyBatesPlaysItSmartWithProfessionalTeethWhitening

Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates knows how important it is to present your best face to the world — and one of the most important features of that face is a beaming smile. But there came a point when she noticed something was a little off. “I've always had good teeth, but it seemed to me as I was getting older that they weren't looking as good,” Kathy explained in a recent interview with Dear Doctor magazine.

That's when she decided it was time to take action. Kathy had orthodontic treatment when she was in her fifties, and she keeps her smile bright with tooth whitening treatments. She uses a kit provided by her dentist with a safe, effective whitening solution.

Of course, a bright, healthy smile looks great anywhere — whether you're on the red carpet or “off the grid.” And you don't have to be a Hollywood star to have professional whitening treatments. In fact, teeth whitening is one of the most popular and affordable cosmetic treatments modern dentistry offers.

The basic options for professional teeth whitening include in-office bleaching or take-home kits. Both types of dentist-supervised treatments offer a safe and effective means of getting a brighter smile; the main difference is how long they take to produce results. A single one-hour treatment in the office can make your teeth up to ten shades lighter — a big difference! To get that same lightening with at-home trays, it would take several days. On the plus side, the take-home kit is less expensive, and can achieve the same results in a bit more time.

It's important to note that not all teeth can be whitened with these treatments. Some teeth have intrinsic (internal) stains that aren't affected by external agents like bleaches. Also, teeth that have been restored (with bonding or veneers, for example) generally won't change color. And you can't necessarily whiten your teeth to any degree: Every tooth has a maximum whiteness, and adding more bleach won't lighten it beyond that level. Most people, however, find that teeth whitening treatments produce noticeable and pleasing results.

What about those off-the-shelf kits or in-the-mall kiosks? They might work… or they might not. But one thing's for sure: Without a dentist's supervision, you're on your own. That's the main reason why you should go with a pro if you're considering teeth whitening. We not only ensure that your treatment is safe — we can also give you a realistic idea of what results to expect, and we will make sure that other dental problems aren't keeping you from having a great-looking smile.

How often does Kathy Bates see her dentist for a checkup and cleaning? “I go about every four months,” she noted. “I'm pretty careful about it.” And if you've seen her smile, you can tell that it pays off. If you would like more information about teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered” and “Teeth Whitening.”