We all want a sparkling, white smile but there’s more to teeth whitening than what’s on the surface. Before we jump in to all the ways you can make your teeth appear whiter, there are a few things you need to understand: perfectly healthy teeth can still have a yellow hue.
There are many factors that can play a role in the color of your teeth and we’ll explore those below. If your tooth has suddenly changed color to shades of brown, gray or black, or you’ve recently suffered a trauma to a tooth, this can indicate a more serious issue and you should call your dentist.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth whitening is a common cosmetic dentistry procedure that can provide immediate results to help you achieve a whiter, brighter smile. Whitening treatments use either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to bleach the enamel and dentin to give the appearance of white teeth.
When you arrive at your whitening consultation, your dentist can help you determine what shade your teeth currently are and where you want them to be. Remember – the whiteness of teeth is subjective and has little to no impact on the health of your current smile.
Another thing to consider during your consultation is any existing or future crowns, bridges or fillings you may have. Whitening treatments can’t change the color of these artificial surfaces and so it’s important to consider if they show when you smile, or if you want to whiten before you decide on the shade of an upcoming restoration.
While whitening is safe, one side effect some people experience is sensitivity in the days after treatment. Sensitivity can be caused by the peroxides used in the treatment and should go away on its own soon. Additionally, if you use to continue whitening at home with trays, make sure the fit of your trays are comfortable and do not cause irritation in the gums.
Teeth Whitening Treatments
At Dental Depot we offer both chair-side whitening with Opalescence Boost to help you safely achieve noticeably whiter teeth in just one visit. Because Opalescence is chemically activated, you don’t have to worry about any bright or uncomfortable lights during your whitening treatment.
Once you’ve completed your consultation and decided what shade you’d like to get to, we’ll get started. For this visit, you’ll use both a lip and cheek retractor and a bite block to help keep your lips, tongue and gums out of the whitening gel. Then, a special barrier will be applied over your gums to make sure the whitening gel stays in place. Once applied, the gel will work in about 20-minute increments to visibly whiten your smile. We’ll suction off the gel and check our shade guide. If additional rounds of gel are needed, up to three 20-minute sessions can be completed in the same visit. Once we’re done, the barriers are removed and you can check out your new smile.
Want to continue whitening at home or don’t have the time to do chair-side whitening? No problem! We also offer Opalescence Go prefilled whitening trays and custom-fit trays as well.
The Simplest Whitening Solution: Regular Care
There’s more to brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes than just your oral health – regular brushing is the key to maintaining a sparkling smile. So long as you’re brushing like you’re supposed to and flossing once daily, you’ll know you’re doing a good job handling any regular stains you might encounter. And, with twice yearly cleanings with a dental hygienist, the majority of surface stains can be wiped away without the use of whitening treatments.
Serious about stopping stains? Be aware of what you’re eating and drinking that can affect the shade of your smile. While you don’t have to avoid teeth-staining substances entirely, you can also rinse with water after a meal or a coffee to wash away any residue.
If these steps aren’t giving you the results you want, it might be worth considering whitening treatments, available at Dental Depot.
Understanding Different Types of Stains
Most stains fall into two categories: extrinsic and intrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains, which are the most common kind of tooth stain, come from the intake of coffee, soda, wines and even some foods. Tobacco can also cause extrinsic stains. These stains are all on the surface of your teeth and are easier to remove with whitening treatments.
Intrinsic stains appear when the dentin, the inner substance of your tooth, changes to a darker or more yellow shade. Exposure to too much fluoride as a child when your permanent teeth begin to erupt or even dental trauma can affect the already yellow-hued dentin inside your teeth. Occasionally, medications can change the color of dentin, such as chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
Thinning enamel is another factor to consider when determining what sort of stains your teeth may be facing. While technically not a stain, as the enamel thins, more of the yellowish dentin beneath shows through. It’s completely natural to see this sort of change as you get older, but it can be helped with whitening treatments.