Do you notice that you have white spots on your teeth? You may notice these spots after your braces are finally removed, but don’t worry. They are common and can be easily treated with our teeth whitening treatments, including the new ZOOM! teeth whitening treatment.
White spots can be caused by several things, but if you were wearing braces, it was most likely caused by demineralization. This happens when dental hygiene is not undertaken properly, which admittedly can happen when you’re wearing braces.
When you wear braces and don’t brush and floss carefully, a sticky film of bacteria called plaque accumulates on the tooth. This plaque eats away at the calcium on the tooth and leaves white spots, or opacities. Another reason for opacities is fluorosis. This happens when a young child gets too much fluoride while their permanent teeth are still forming. Sometimes the symptoms of fluorosis are so mild that only a dentist can detect them or so severe that they put a tooth at risk for decay, make it sensitive to heat and cold and hard to numb during dental procedures.
Opacities can also be the result of enamel hypoplasia. This can be caused by illness and malnutrition. Opacities can also be a side effect of certain drugs. Premature babies sometimes develop opacities, especially if their mother smoked during her pregnancy.
The ZOOM! treatment is performed at the dentist’s office after a consultation to make sure that the patient is a good candidate for the procedure. Before the treatment, the patient has a regular cleaning. The dentist then fits the patient with a dental dam and paints on a whitening gel made largely of hydrogen peroxide. This gel is left for about 15 minutes. A special overhead light is aimed at the gel, and its ultraviolet light breaks the gel down. This lets oxygen penetrate the enamel and the dentin beneath it, which bleaches the teeth. The entire teeth whitening treatment usually lasts less than an hour.
The dentist’s instructions to the patient for post-operative care include avoid eating or drinking strongly colored or staining foods or beverages for at least 48 hours after the Zoom treatment, and taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen every four hours for the first two days if teeth are sensitive.