Teeth whitening is a popular form of cosmetic dentistry in which the surface of the teeth is bleached with a special whitening agent. Dr. Nicholas Kemp, a cosmetic dentist serving Toronto, can evaluate any discoloration you might have on your teeth and let you know if teeth whitening might be the answer to give you back your bright, beautiful smile.

Extrinsic versus Intrinsic Staining

One major factor that will determine if teeth whitening will work for you is the nature of the discoloration on your teeth. There are two basic types of staining that can occur: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic staining is the most common type, and is usually successfully treated with teeth whitening. This type of staining affects only the outer layers of the teeth. It occurs when the teeth are exposed to coloring agents that leave behind stains. These agents can include:

  • Coffee or tea
  • Nicotine
  • Fruit juices, wine or other dark foods or beverages

Because this type of staining only affects the tooth surface, your cosmetic dentist can use a simple whitening procedure to reduce or even remove the staining.

Intrinsic staining usually does not respond well to teeth whitening, because the discoloration is a part of the tooth and affects both exterior and interior layers. This type of staining most often occurs as a result of exposure to excessive amounts of fluoride or to certain medications. If your discoloration is intrinsic, teeth whitening might not be the best option for you.

The Teeth Whitening Procedure

Teeth whitening is performed in the dentist’s office. A whitening agent is applied to the surface of the teeth, then left to sit for a period of time. Each session usually lasts about an hour, after which you will see a dramatic change in the color of your teeth.

At-home whitening is also an option, especially if in-office whitening does not lighten your teeth sufficiently. With at-home whitening, the dentist provides a whitening agent and special trays that fit in your mouth. By using the trays and the whitener every day according to directions, you can reduce even more stubborn extrinsic staining after a week or two of regular treatment.

If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening, please contact the office of Dr. Kemp at 416.922.1012 to schedule a consultation.