Microabrasion can be an ideal cosmetic dentistry solution for brightening teeth and removing stains that traditional teeth whitening cannot address. Microabrasion will brighten your smile by removing stains on your enamel. Unlike porcelain veneers, microabrasion actually removes stains instead of just covering them.
To find out more about whitening your teeth with microabrasion in Washington D.C., call our cosmetic dentistry office at 703-323-8200 to schedule an appointment today.
When Is Microabrasion Used?
Microabrasion is a teeth whitening procedure that utilizes a mixture of hydrochloric acid and pumice (an abrasive) to remove stubborn stains in the outer enamel that are resistant to bleaching. Typically microabrasion can address:
- White stains caused by decalcifaction
- White stains related to braces
- Brown or white stains caused by defective tooth formation, such as fluorosis or trauma-related defects
- Other severe stains that are in the outer layers of the enamel
Decalcification is the first stage of tooth decay. It occurs when acidic attack removes some of the minerals from the tooth. This is a warning sign that a cavity will form, but it’s possible that with preventive care the cavity might never form. For many people, the teeth will remineralize, but for others the white spots will remain.
Braces can cause white spots for a similar reason. You may not know it, but your body constantly restores minerals to your teeth via saliva. When you have brackets on your teeth, parts of your enamel don’t get remineralized. They can lose mineral content and turn chalky white.
Other times, staining in the teeth is caused during tooth formation. The two most common causes of enamel formation problems are fluorosis and tooth trauma. Fluoride helps teeth form and mineralize, but too much fluoride can lead to tooth defects. Typically, children are at greater risk if they get two or more sources of fluoride: drinking fluoridated water (especially well water with high natural levels of fluoride), swallowing fluoridated toothpaste, and/or take fluoride drops. Tooth trauma can also interrupt the formation of tooth enamel, leading to defects.
Other times, we may not know the cause of stains. But when they don’t respond to whitening, we may recommend microabrasion.
What Is Microabrasion?
Microabrasion works by repeating an abrasive process of rubbing away the outer layers of the enamel containing the stains to reveal a smooth, glassy enamel surface below as the finished result. Generally the abrasion process will continue until the stained layers of enamel have been completely removed or until the process must be stopped for other reasons, such as the enamel getting too thin or the tooth becoming sensitive.
The process is relatively painless and teeth are usually bathed in a fluoride gel in order to reduce post-operative sensitivity. The entire process typically takes less than an hour and yields permanent results.
Sometimes microabrasion can be combined with other whitening methods to produce optimal results, but this will depend on the type of stains you want to remove.
Alternative Whitening Treatments
Depending on your unique smile, our dental team may recommend alternative whitening treatments to help you get the best results possible. Some of the most common solutions for brightening your smile include:
The best way to determine which treatments are right for you is to let our dental experts assess your needs personally.
To schedule a personal appointment to find out if microabrasion is right for you, call our dentistry office at 703-323-8200 to schedule an appointment with an experienced Washington D.C. dentist.