If somebody has a black tooth or a grey-ish tooth right in the front (or a discolored tooth) and everything else is fine, it might be that that tooth is actually dead. When a tooth dies, the nerve inside starts to get putrified, so the bacteria starts taking over. It is very important for us to go in and clean out any of the dead nerves or bacteria that might be forming in there.
If somebody has a single dark tooth right in the front and it really shows that grey-ish color, we can bleach it, but that can only be done in the dental office. The reason being, we actually have to go inside the tooth to be able to bleach out. And why did this tooth get darker? Because bacteria has gotten inside of it. So usually if you had a fall, you had a root canal treatment in the front tooth - that's when we usually see that that can darken because bacteria has leaked inside the tooth. So we literally have to open it back up, put bleaching inside of it, clean it out, and then seal it back up.
All natural teeth can be whitened. However, if you already have some existing bonding or some veneers or crowns, those do not bleach properly. So what you will get is the natural teeth that will actually whiten and your old fillings that will not whiten. So we have to be very careful - you don't want to end up with mismatched colors. Typically, enamel is not endangered when the whitening material is placed, but it really depends on the length of the time that the material is placed. Therefore, we're going more towards shorter treatments - more like 20 to 30 minutes and not overnight treatments, or like an hour and a half treatments. So it really depends on the material and the length of the treatment that is left over the teeth.
Nobody really needs tooth whitening. But really, when you're looking at somebody's smile, you automatically make some assumptions when their smile is nice, bright, and white. If somebody has a nice bright smile, we automatically think they're healthy. If somebody has a yellow smile, you think they're sick. So going for a job interview, going on a date, you know, that first impression really matters. Teeth whitening treatments are quite popular. We have people that come in here literally every week. Anyone is a candidate for tooth whitening. You know, it could be a teenager, it could be older adults, but you can get it once a year - it really depends on someone's level of staining. Sometimes the enamel of the teeth can be more porous, so you can pick up stains faster, so you need to do more of a maintenance or sometimes, some people have a whitening one time and it can last for several years. It really depends on their diet.
Teeth whitening procedures are not covered by your insurance because there are deemed as cosmetic procedures. Usually teeth whitenings can be from $200 all the way to $600, depending on the treatment you are getting.
In order to maintain your teeth whitening results, it is important that you follow up with maintenance treatments. There's really two products for maintenance. One is the customizable trays, which are made for you. And the second is a bleaching pen, which is really just like a lip gloss, with a little brush at the end, which you can paint over your teeth, really on a weekly basis to maintain the nice bright white smile. A good analogy for keeping or maintaining results would be, for example, like going to the car wash. If you've gone to the car wash, you know, you can get some dust in your car immediately thereafter, and you can easily take a rag at home and you can actually wipe the dust clean from the car. Same thing with your smile.
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