We brush and floss every day in hopes to keep our teeth bright, white, and healthy. Yet, we often find ourselves hiding behind a smile we are not happy with because of the color of our teeth.
Professional whitening is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to enhance your fading smile. To understand how to achieve a snowy white smile, we need to review what causes our teeth to stain, what’s used to brighten our smiles, and how to maintain our pearly whites after tooth whitening treatment.
What discolors our teeth?
Teeth change color in different ways, depending on each person. The shade of our teeth is impacted by:
- The foods we eat
- Our oral habits
- Other factors like aging!
Food and drink discolor our teeth
Our favorite coffees, teas, colas, and dark wines contain pigments that migrate into our teeth. These pigments can penetrate our enamel and cause internal staining (also known as intrinsic staining).
Food and drink stains love to hold onto our teeth because they contain microscopic pits and ridges. This staining can also cause external (extrinsic) staining by sticking onto soft dental plaque and hardened tartar.
These remains visible until the stains are professionally removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.
Tobacco discolors our teeth
It is well known that smoking and smokeless tobacco are harmful for your oral and overall health. Nicotine and poisonous chemicals found in tobacco products are not only habit forming and a cause of oral diseases, but they are also linked to heart and lung diseases and cancer.
People who smoke typically experience extensive and unsightly staining to their teeth both intrinsically and extrinsically. The nicotine found in tobacco products deeply penetrate the microscopic pores of your teeth, turning them dark yellow in color.
Smokers will typically build up more soft dental plaque that quickly turns into hard tartar on their teeth. Brushing away these stains is nearly impossible. Like food and beverage stains, these unsightly discolorations will also hold onto these areas until professionally removed.
Aging discolors our teeth
While everyone knows we get better with age, tooth stains can be one of our least-favorite body changes that take place during the aging process. Age-related discoloration can be resulted by recurrent extrinsic and intrinsic staining and thinning enamel.
Naturally white in color, dental enamel is one of the hardest substances in our bodies. Over the years, we expose ourselves to agents that causes our white enamel to thin out, exposing our naturally yellow underlying dentin.
This is due to the medications we take, certain health conditions, long-time tobacco use, and exposing our teeth to food and drink agents that cause staining and enamel wear from an acidic diet.
Our pearly whites often gradually darken over the course of our lives.
Reversing tooth discoloration
It is inevitable that we will all continue to age. Smoking cessation and abstaining from the foods and beverages that cause your teeth to stain is the best way to prevent your teeth from absorbing these pigments.
Fortunately, there have been many advances in science and technology to help us achieve the smiles we desire. There are simple and easy ways to slow down the progression of teeth staining, as well as effective ways to brighten your smile.
The teeth whitening market is full of options! Whether you’re walking down the drugstore aisle, or taking a quick glance at a commercial on TV, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all of the options for pushing back against discoloration.
You will see anything from strips and whitening sticks, to pastes, rinses, and even chewing gum claim to all whiten your teeth. Although these products may brighten your smile a bit, it’s unlikely that any of them will be able to give you a Hollywood smile.
At home, you can use pastes and rinses with hydrogen peroxide to help maintain your whiteness. These products can provide a barrier to your teeth, thus preventing staining agents from sticking to your enamel. As always, look for products with the ADA seal of acceptance.
There are many over the counter dental products on the market, but whitening procedures guided by your dentist are the safest, most effective ways to brighten your smile.
Are you ready for whiter teeth?
At Timbercrest Dental Center, we offer several whitening options to our patients. Each option differs in the strength of its whitening agents, and the time it takes to remove discoloration. Here are some of the options you have available:
- Professional Crest White Strips. They are much stronger than over-the-counter white strip products and can only be purchased at a dental office like ours.
- In-office bleaching with Boost. This is usually done in one appointment.
- Take-home whitening trays with Opalescence gel.
- Deep Bleaching that is a combination of in-office and at-home whitening. This method will give you the best, quickest overall result!
We can examine your teeth will help ensure your tooth discoloration is not a result of a dental condition that needs treatment. We will also evaluate where you have existing restorations, and guide you on how to obtain a brighter smile.
There may be areas we are unable to whiten due to tooth fillings or crowns. Don’t worry, though, we’ll let you know about those too!
Professional Whitening methods can whiten teeth within 1 hour for in-office treatments, and within a few days to 2 weeks for take-home treatments. Professional teeth whitening lasts anywhere between 6 months and several years.
What kind of changes can you expect? Professional whitening can make your teeth 3-8 shades brighter! Additionally, professional teeth whitening is the safest way to banish the ugly brown or yellow colors from your smile.
Touch-ups may be needed and whitening is proven safe when used as directed by dental professional.
In conjunction with regular brushing and flossing, maintaining a bright smile can easily be achieved through professional teeth whitening. Make an appointment today to learn more about how Timbercrest Dental Center can help your smile!