Teeth Whitening Q & A

Just as hair and skin come in a variety of natural hues, teeth come in various shades of white. Although some people’s teeth are naturally brighter than others, no one wants their teeth to look dull, yellow, gray, or otherwise discolored.

Tooth discoloration often occurs slowly over time, either because of repeated staining, insufficient brushing, and flossing, or a combination of both.
Your teeth may look relatively smooth, but your enamel is actually filled with tiny imperfections where food particles and liquid residues can become trapped. When these stains add up over time, they can make your teeth appear less than white. If you allow plaque to build up at the same time, your teeth may look even more discolored.

Even if you have good oral health habits and maintain regular professional cleanings, you may experience greater degrees of tooth discoloration as you age. That’s because enamel gets thinner with age, allowing the darker dentin layer underneath the enamel to show through and make your teeth look less white.

Other factors that contribute to tooth discoloration include smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, tea, or red wine, and taking certain prescription medications.

Volterra Dental offers both in-office whitening procedures as well as customized take-home treatments:

  • Laser Whitening: This advanced whitening treatment involves the use of a special whitening gel that’s activated by an LED laser. During this treatment, the Volterra Dental staff shields your lips and gums before applying the whitening gel to your teeth. When the laser activates the whitening agent in the gel, it speeds up the process of breaking up stains and removing discoloration. The team at Volterra Dental uses Zoom! in-office laser whitening, which can make your smile up to eight shades brighter in an hour or less.
  • In-Home Whitening: Volterra Dental also offers Opalescence® teeth whitening, a chemically activated whitening treatment that uses a penetrating gel to break down discolored molecules deep in your enamel to whiten your teeth quickly and effectively. Because this treatment uses custom-created trays that fit closely against your teeth, you can do it yourself in the comfort of your own home. Your personal treatment recommendations, including treatment time, depending on the degree of staining and your desired level of whitening. 

Before you have a professional whitening treatment, you undergo a quick dental exam to make sure that you’re a good candidate for the procedure. That’s because whitening treatments aren’t effective for all types of discoloration — yellowed teeth typically respond very well, brown teeth respond poorly, and grey teeth don’t usually improve at all.

Whitening treatments are also only effective on natural teeth and don’t work well on restorations like veneers, bonding, crowns, or bridges.

If you’re ready for a whiter, brighter smile, call Volterra Dental today at (562) 501-3188 today, or request an appointment today.

Dr. Richard Blackburn Image
Dr. Richard Blackburn is a highly sought after dentist in Los Alamitos. Having received training at Midwestern University, he earned a strong reputation amongst his instructors and peers as an exceptionally skilled and professional clinician. He possesses extensive training and experience in wisdom teeth extractions, root canals, restorations, implant placement, sleep, and TMJ analysis, among other general dentistry treatments. In addition to enjoying family time, he loves to visit the beach. Being born and raised in Southern Orange County, he is keen to give back to the community and strives to build lasting relationships through comfortable, customized, and high-quality dental treatments.