Wishing for a white Christmas? Is your smile ready for the holidays? If you desire whiter and brighter teeth for the holidays or new year, we can help. We understand that a radiant smile can leave a lasting impression and that bright, white teeth are great confidence builders. There are a variety of ways to whiten your teeth, both in-office and at home. We invite you to explore the possibilities of achieving a glowing smile with these whitening treatments.
Many of us desire white teeth especially around the holidays, and while brushing, flossing, and using a mouthwash are great ways to take care of your teeth and prevent stains from forming, to achieve that radiant smile a whitening treatment may be in order. It is best to consult with your dentist to determine the right treatment for you and your teeth.
Why do teeth change colors?
By nature, our teeth are not perfectly white, but over time our teeth may change color from their pale appearance due to certain foods and drinks, age, trauma, medication, and tobacco usage.
There are two kinds of stains: extrinsic and intrinsic.
- Extrinsic stains are the stains located on the outside of the tooth’s enamel. Whitening toothpaste, strips, and mouthwashes have some effect on these types of stains.
- Intrinsic stains are underneath the surface of your teeth’s enamel and will not respond effectively to home remedies. The best way to target these stains is with professional dental treatment.
How does whitening work? Are there any side effects?
Teeth whitening is often a simple process. Whitening products contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Both are safe and dentist-approved bleaches. These bleaches break down stains into smaller pieces, making the color less concentrated and your teeth brighter.
Some people may experience tooth sensitivity. This happens when bleaching agents irritate the nerves of your teeth. Overuse of whiteners can also damage tooth enamel and gums permanently. Follow directions properly and speak with your dentist before any treatment.
Does whitening treatment work on all teeth and stains?
No, unfortunately even professional whitening may not lift all stains. Brown and gray tones may not take to whitening treatment or result in uneven results. Yellow teeth respond better to bleaching.
Bleaching is not recommended for tooth-colored fillings, crowns, caps, or bonding at the front of your mouth as the bleach will not change the color of those materials. Ask your dentist for other options such as veneers or bonding.
What are my options?
- Stain removal toothpaste– All toothpaste help remove surface stains on your teeth. Look for an ADA approved whitening toothpaste. These kinds of toothpaste will have additional polishing agents that are safe for your teeth. They may not change the color of your teeth significantly but will remove surface stains.
- In-office treatment– The fastest and most efficient whitening treatment is done by professionals. In-office treatments contain whitening agents at higher concentrations and produce results faster than other options, lifting deep discoloration within your teeth. During this treatment, the lips and gums will be protected and the whitening gel applied directly to the teeth. Fluoride may be applied following treatment to reduce tooth sensitivity.
- At-home dental treatment– Your dentist may also provide you with a custom-made tray for at-home whitening. In this case, he or she will give you specific instructions on how to use the bleaching solution, trays, and the length of treatment.
- Over-the-counter products– Toothpaste, whitening kits, and strips are available at your local stores. The concentration of whitening agents is lower than what your dentist would use, but can still help you to achieve a brighter smile.
- Eating the right foods– A healthy diet is important to maintaining good oral health. However, some foods are better at promoting a brighter smile than others. Eating vegetables and fruits that are firm and crisp can help prevent plaque buildup. Foods to consider are celery, apples, pears, carrots, broccoli, and spinach.
- Be smart about what foods may cause staining– Foods and beverages that would stain a white carpet will likely stain your teeth. If you want a brighter smile, avoid these foods and drinks or be sure to rinse and clean your mouth after consuming them.
- Avoid smoking– Smoking can be one of the fastest ways to diminish the whiteness of your teeth. Tar and nicotine can stain and turn your teeth yellow. If you desire whiter teeth, you may need to consider curbing this habit.
- Use caution with home remedies – Be aware of the ingredients in home remedies, baking soda is abrasive and may strip away your tooth enamel permanently if you are not careful. Acidic treatments can also increase sensitivity, yellowing, and eat away at your enamel.
If you have any questions on teeth whitening options for your smile, we are happy to do everything we can to assist you. We will work with you to find the perfect treatment for you. For more information, contact Manon Bourque Hutchison, DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today.