Teeth stains are caused by a variety of things, such as smoking, food, coffee, tea or red wine. When these things come in contact with your teeth, they leave a film on the tooth enamel. Unfortunately, even with regular brushing, not only can this film stay on the surface of your teeth for years, but tooth enamel is porous, so over time the stains seep into the enamel. Although tooth stains, even deeper stains, are fairly harmless, it does cause a yellow or dark shade on the tooth that makes it look dull and unattractive. If your smile isn’t as white as you would like it to be, teeth whitening may be the solution.
Teeth Whitening Options
There are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to ways to whiten teeth. However, it is important to note that not all teeth whitening products work the same, nor do they produce the same effects. For the best results, teeth whitening should be done in your dentist’s office. Some of the most common whitening products available include:
Over-the-counter products - your local grocery or drug store will typically have a whole array of products to choose from that all claim to help with teeth whitening. Most of these products will typically only work if you have a lighter degree of staining and it may take several months before you notice a difference. For example, “whitening” toothpaste is used in place of your regular toothpaste and contains a small amount of peroxide that may lighten the discoloration on your teeth if used consecutively for several months.
At home whitening systems - if you prefer to use a teeth whitening product at home, many dentists offer take-home whitening systems that consist of either gels and trays or strips. When using the trays, you apply the solution to the inside of the tray and then place the tray on your teeth. Strips have the peroxide agent that is applied directly on the strip, which you apply to the front of your teeth.
In-office whitening - having your teeth whitened in your dentist’s office is the safest as well as quickest way to whiten teeth. The concentration of peroxide is much higher in professional whitening systems; because it is applied under the supervision of your dentist, they monitor your teeth and gums for any sensitivity or damage that may be caused by the gels.
A word of precaution — using at-home teeth whiteners may cause your teeth to become sensitive. The peroxide in these products penetrates your tooth enamel, which can cause sensitivity to heat and cold.
How Does a Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment Work?
The first time you meet with your dentist for teeth whitening, they will first examine your teeth to determine how discolored your teeth and determine what degree of whitening you will need to get your teeth the desired degree of whiteness. The tooth whitening agents used by your dentist are much more powerful than over-the-counter products. The whitening agents get into the tooth enamel to oxide the stains and break them apart and then actively whitens the enamel.
Once you have had your teeth professionally whitened, it is important to practice good oral health care. Newly whitened teeth may stain more easily during the first 24-48 hours after whitening, so it is essential that you stay away from anything that will stain a white t-shirt, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco. Keep in mind that over time teeth generally return to their original shade. But if you practice good oral care by brushing and flossing regularly and having regular cleanings from the dentist, your smile will stay white for much longer. Also, you have the option of having custom take-home trays fabricated. This way you can keep your teeth pearly white right from home!
Are you ready for a whiter, brighter smile? Contact Sixth Street Dental today to schedule your teeth whitening and receive $350 off Venus® in-office whitening — regular price is $550, sale price is $200.