For more than 100 years the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry has provided exceptional dental education and service to Nebraskans and beyond through premier educational programs, innovative research and clinical care.
From regular checkups and cleanings to braces and dentures, the dental college provides the highest quality patient care in all areas at affordable costs. To find out more about programs and services visit the website at http://www.unmc.edu/dentistry or call 402-472-1301.
|Julie Marshall, D.D.S., is an associate professor and interim chair of the department of adult restorative dentistry at the UNMC College of Dentistry. Dr. Marshall’s research interests include speech assessment using palatal lifts and palatal obturators, and dental implant supported prostheses. She has served as past president of the Lincoln District Dental Association and the UNMC College of Dentistry Alumni Association, among other service activities.|
|What are the causes of tooth darkening?
It is important to know the causes of tooth darkening primarily because there are a lot of different reasons. One of them is that it might be due to medications. There are some medications that cause a side effect of tooth darkening. The use of tobacco, coffee, ta, red wines and dark cola types of drinks also lead to tooth discoloration. We all experience tooth discoloration or darkening simply due to aging. Depending on the etiology of darkening or color change, you and your dentist can determine the appropriate type and method of tooth whitening that should be performed.
|What are some of the most common complications in teeth whitening?
They are not very common, but they occasionally do occur and the two most common are soft tissue irritation and the second is tooth sensitivity. Often if you experience soft tissue irritation it can be in the form of seeing the gums become red in color, maybe a burning sensation on the tongue, a burning sensation upon swallowing in the throat. It’s often due to the fact that there is too much whitening agent being exposed to the teeth. If we are using some of the gel type formulas overloading the application or the tray can lead to those sorts of complications. The other most common complication is to sensitivity. People will often find that their teeth are more sensitive to temperatures, extremes of cold, and so it will be a transient discomfort. Both of these side effects usually can be managed particularly with the help of your dental health professional, simply discontinuing the product or the use of some desensitizing agents can help you move forward with reducing that sensitivity that maybe experienced on the teeth.
|What are the most common methods to whiten teeth?
Well, there are several different strategies to whitening teeth. Probably the two most effective and safest are in-office whitening procedures that are provided by your dentist, and also dentist directed whitening procedures and those dentist directed are very popular now, typically an impression is taken of your mouth and some custom formed vinyl trays are fabricated by the dental office and then various viscous gels are used in that and the tray is worn with the viscous gel in place for anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight depending on the concentration. There are many over-the-counter products and those are ones that I would advise that you work with your dental professional in selecting the appropriate whitening agents that might be over-the-counter. But the two safest and most effective are the in-office procedures as well as the home directed procedures with the custom vinyl trays.
How long does it take to whiten teeth?
Well, if we are looking at the dentist directed at home applications with the custom vinyl tray that really depends. You usually will have a whitening effect within 7 applications or less and generally depends on the concentration of the active ingredient that’s being used. So the stronger the concentration the fewer applications you will need to create a whitening effect, the lower the concentration, it will takes more treatments. Now why would we have two different concentrations? Sensitivity, the higher the concentration we are using in the active ingredient the more likely we will have to sensitivity or side effects will occur. So, lower concentrations you can get to the same whitening effect, it will just take longer, higher concentrations, fewer applications to reach the whitening effect. But you have achieved the whitening effect that you would like, the lasting effect of higher concentrations or lower concentration ingredients is no different.
| How do I maintain my teeth once I get them whitened?
It varies from patient to patient on what you need to maintain that and a lot of it has to do with your basic oral hygiene and habits. So for those people who continue to drink coffee, tea, smoke, drink colas, red wine you’re going to need to do touch-up more frequently and typically one to two applications of the night guard vinyl bleaching or the how directed type of procedure, one or two applications for about every week that you spent trying to get that whitening effect is about all you need, so you need just a little bit of touch up. If none of those habits are in place the whitening effect can last a very, very long time, so there is a reversal that occurs throughout. There are many over-the-counter tooth pastes, or danafritzes that have whitening agents in them and so you should speak with your dentist about selecting one of those to also help you maintain the whitening effect that you have done through the in-office or the home directed whitening procedures.
COD Fast Facts:
The UNMC College of Dentistry at a glance.
Proud History: For 13 of the past 18 years the college ranks highest in incoming GPA of any dentistry program in the USA.
Quality Education: Our students consistently shine with high board scores in both the dental and dental hygiene programs and the college offers strong residency programs in endodontics, general dentistry, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and periodontics.
Service: Our commitment to service is evident in the strong clinical community service programs that provide outreach to underserved populations across the state.