Teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic procedures.
Teeth naturally discolor over time due to a lot of environment factors. Teeth whitening procedures provide a perfect solution to rejuvenate and enhance your smile.
How do teeth get stained and discolored?
Patients often ask how they can keep their smiles white. Good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing, are your best tools. However, there are a lot of factors that can cause teeth to become discolored. As you’ll see, not all of these are directly within your control. In other words, while good oral hygiene and knowing what to avoid are both important, teeth can and do become discolored over time through no fault of our own.
Things that stain your teeth, that are in your control:
- Staining from food and drinks: Certain foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and dark-colored fruits like berries, can stain the outer layer of your teeth (enamel) over time.
- Tobacco use: Both smoking and chewing tobacco can cause yellowing and brown stains on teeth. The nicotine and tar present in tobacco can penetrate the enamel and lead to discoloration.
- Poor oral hygiene: Inadequate brushing, flossing, and overall oral hygiene can allow plaque and tartar to build up on your teeth, causing them to appear yellow or discolored.
Things that stain your teeth, that you don’t have control over:
- Aging: As we age, the outer layer of enamel on our teeth naturally wears away, revealing the dentin, which is naturally yellowish in color. This can make our teeth appear more yellow or discolored.
- Medications and medical treatments: Certain medications, such as antihistamines, antipsychotics, and some antibiotics, can cause tooth discoloration as a side effect. Additionally, treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy can affect tooth development and color.
- Dental trauma: Trauma to a tooth, such as a severe impact or injury, can cause the tooth to change color. It may turn darker due to internal bleeding or react to the trauma by depositing more dentin, which can result in a yellowish or grayish appearance.
- Genetic factors: Some individuals may naturally have teeth that are more prone to discoloration due to their genetic makeup.
It’s worth noting that certain dental conditions, such as tooth decay, enamel erosion, and dental infections, can also contribute to tooth discoloration. If you’re concerned about the color of your teeth, give us a call.
Methods of teeth whitening
Done professionally, teeth whitening procedures are very safe and effective. A flawless beautiful smile can be acquired at a nominal cost. To that end, patients have a couple of options to consider.
In-office teeth whitening: As the name indicates, this procedure is performed at our dental office and takes about one hour to complete. The gums and the surrounding tissues are first protected by placing a barrier on them to prevent the whitening agent’s side-effects. A whitening gel is then applied to the surface of the teeth and left for about 20 minutes. This gel application is repeated 2-3 times based on the patient’s teeth discoloration and sensitivity level of their teeth. The in-office whitening agents are stronger than at-home treatments and give better results in a short span of time. It is the best option to try if you want quick results and a shiny, beautiful smile.
Customized take-home whitening trays: This treatment method can opt if you are not in a hurry to have your teeth whitened instantly. It involves an initial visit to our office so we can take impressions of your teeth, from with we fabricate custom trays. A kit containing a whitening gel is provided, along with instructions on placing small drops of gel in the trays. These trays should be worn for two weeks for about a half-hour duration daily. At the end of two weeks, your teeth will be brilliantly white.
Is teeth whitening right for me?
While teeth whitening is without doubt one of our most requested treatments, suitability depends on good overall oral health. We determine this by conducting a routine examine to decide if you are ready for a teeth whitening procedure. Patients who other underlying problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and restorations, should have these treated first, and on a priority basis.
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