Our teeth will naturally darken over time, but certain habits, like drinking coffee, smoking and improper oral hygiene, can speed up this process. Teeth whitening treatments are available for those patients who want a whiter, more brilliant smile just in time for summer fun and activities. There are multiple teeth whitening options available, from at-home to in-office treatments, and each can be individualized to your needs and wants. Find out how teeth whitening works and what to expect during your next treatment with this guide!
How Teeth Become Stained
One of the first things that people see whenever we smile is our teeth. For some, the look of their teeth makes them self-conscious, especially if they are stained. Teeth naturally darken as they age, but certain foods and beverages make this process worse. Stains on the outer layer of the tooth, called enamel, from coffee, smoking, wine and sodas, are considered extrinsic discolorations. These stains are some of the most common reasons why patients’ teeth yellow over time. Intrinsic discoloration, on the other hand, deals with the inner part of the tooth, called dentin, as it darkens over time. This can occur from excessive fluoride consumption and using tetracycline medications as a child, which isn’t very common in most cases. Even antihistamines and high blood pressure medications have changed the color of some patient’s teeth, so it’s important to know what side effects your medications have before taking them. Teeth can also change color due to trauma from getting hit in the mouth, which causes the tooth to add more layers of dentin to it. Certain cancer treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation, are also known to darken teeth, as well.
Most patients don’t realize just how important their oral hygiene regimen is, and many suffer from yellow or darkened teeth because they aren’t cleaning them as well as they should be. If plaque sits too long on teeth, it creates acid from bacteria that destroys the tooth enamel, letting darker dentin show through and leaving them vulnerable to cavities. Brushing and flossing your teeth each day is a simple way to keep your teeth white, healthy and decay-free without needing a trip to the dentist.
Teeth Whitening Options
For those who don’t like their stained or yellowed teeth, there are plenty of teeth whitening options available to brighten your smile without breaking your budget. In-house whitening treatments are recommended over others since they’ve overseen by a dental professional and typically take only one office visit to complete. However, for busy people who don’t have time to come into the office, there are at-home bleaching treatments available that use custom-made trays and a bleaching solution to whiten teeth. At-home options typically take up to a few weeks to notice any difference, whereas in-office treatments are noticeable almost immediately. You can also buy stain-removing toothpaste that have extra polishing agents in them to help remove stains, but make sure that there is the ADA stamp of approval for stain removal before purchasing. Popular over-the-counter options include whitening strips that bleach your teeth, but the amount of bleaching agent in these products is so low that they normally don’t have any kind of effect.
Keep in mind that not all teeth have the ability to be whitened. Yellow teeth bleach the best out of them all, but brown teeth may take longer to see any difference while gray teeth typically don’t whiten whatsoever. Before trying any teeth whitening treatment, make sure to have a consultation with your dentist to decide which treatment would be best for your needs.
Advantages of In-Office Teeth Whitening
It may be difficult to schedule an in-office teeth whitening visit, especially if you are busy with work or kids, but these treatments give you the best bang for your buck when it comes to whiter teeth. At home, you have total responsibility for taking care of your trays and putting the right amount of bleach in them, but at the office, you just get to sit back and relax while the dentist does all the work for you. Not only that, but an in-office treatment is the fastest method for whiter teeth as it’s more effective at breaking down stains. The entire treatment takes less than two hours to complete, and you’ll walk out with a noticeably whiter smile than you walked in with. At-home and over-the-counter treatments take weeks and even months to notice a difference, and most times your teeth won’t whiten much at all. If you have an important event like a wedding or graduation coming up, in-office teeth whitening treatments will ensure that your smile is whiter and brighter in time for the festivities.
Keeping Your Teeth Brilliant For Years To Come
If you want a brighter smile or simply want to make sure that your teeth are healthy, Dr. Evanson and her dental staff are equipped with the technology and experience to get you your health and confidence back. Whether you have extrinsic discoloration from coffee or your teeth are damaged from certain medications, we can help. To schedule a consultation, call our office at (720) 409-0008. Call today to begin your journey to a beautiful, more brilliant smile!Leave a reply →