Depending on what you eat and drink, you may notice over time that your teeth begin to yellow and don’t shine as bright as they used to. Some gradual discoloration isn’t guaranteed, but it also should be expected. While there are a few over-the-counter things you can try to whiten up your teeth (and that may work if your teeth aren’t very discolored), you may find that you need professional teeth whitening to return your teeth to their former glory.
Below is more information about why your teeth may need to be whitened, what a professional whitening procedure is like, and the benefits of professional teeth whitening.
Why Your Teeth Are Discolored
Over time, your teeth can stain due to stain particles building up in the film that covers the enamel of your teeth. There are a variety of different things that can cause your teeth to stain. These include food, drinks, and other things that you put in your mouth (such as tobacco). Smoking can also lead to stains.
Some of the liquids that lead to staining include coffee, dark-colored sodas, tea, and red wine. Foods include tomato sauce, dark berries, and more. If you would like to stop or slow down the staining of your teeth, the first step is to avoid these things. With that said, your teeth will most likely stain over time due to your diet. You also may be taking certain medications that can affect your enamel and make it easier for the staining of your teeth. Finally, there are stains due to poor oral hygiene.
How to Whiten Your Teeth
There are a few different ways that you can whiten your teeth. Some only require over-the-counter products, while others require a trip to the dentist for a cosmetic procedure.
A good place to start for most people is with a whitening toothpaste. While you won’t see outstanding results, you may see a small change. If your teeth don’t need a massive amount of whitening. This may be an option for you. Another popular at-home option is whitening strips. These are more involved. With whitening strips, you apply the strips as instructed and—over time—your teeth will whiten. It’s extremely important to follow the directions with these, as they can cause harm if you don’t. There is also whitening gel that can be used. As with whitening strips, only use as directed.
Finally, there are professional teeth whitening services. With this form of whitening, you’ll see fast and consistent results. If you’ve tried other methods and haven’t gotten the desired results, this is likely the best option for you. If you’d like to skip the long process of using whitening strips or other at-home methods, you also may want to consider professional whitening. Strips can take weeks or even months to fully do the job. Professional whitening is quick and easy.
Professional Teeth Whitening Process
Once you’ve decided to go the professional teeth whitening route, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist. They’ll do an examination to see what the current shade of your teeth is and what degree of whitening will be required. Your dentist will take a picture before and after and to document the progress. Your teeth will be cleaned fully to help the bleaching agent to do its job more efficiently. Your dentist will also do a full oral exam to ensure nothing will affect the results.
The teeth whitening procedure involves a dentist first painting a gel on your gums to protect your gum line. Your dentist will use a whitening solution on the front of your teeth. This is generally made up of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. From there, a laser or curing light may be used to activate the whitening agent. The solution will be left for 30 to 60 minutes. From there, the teeth will be rinsed, and a fluoride application may be used to help with sensitivity. If you only require a small amount of whitening, your dentist may stop the process early. If you need a more advanced level of whitening, the process may take multiple visits to get the job done.
Another option for professional whitening is a professional at-home whitening kit. This needs to be prescribed by a dentist. You’ll be given a custom-fitted tray and instructions for application that must be followed closely.
Set an appointment with your dentist to see which option is best to meet your needs.
The Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening
The main benefit of professional teeth whitening is how simple the process is. The whitening can be completed in as little as one trip! You’ll also have your whitening performed with the help of a trained professional. This increases the chances of success and decreases the chances of complications that come with at-home strips.
If you’ve been self-conscious about smiling due to having yellow and discolored teeth, it may affect your self-esteem. With professional teeth whitening, you can smile with confidence—which will, in turn, boost your mood.
Keep in mind with teeth whitening that you need to continue to take care of your teeth to ensure the whiteness lasts. With that said, it won’t last forever. You will eventually need touchups to keep your teeth white. You also should avoid tea, coffee, dark colas, tomato sauce, and other foods and drinks that can stain your teeth.
Good oral healthcare will help to ensure the longevity of your teeth whitening. Brush, floss, and rinse twice a day, every day. You also need to visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. Not only will regular trips to the dentist keep your teeth white, but also help with your overall oral health.
If your teeth have yellowed and you’d like your pearly whites back, reach out to Oxboro Dental about a professional teeth whitening service. Your bright, white smile is a phone call away!