One of the first things we notice about someone is their smile, so naturally, most of us strive to have white teeth. But reality is that over time, the color of our teeth will change for various reasons. It’s important to have good home care, but equally important to see your dentist and hygienist regularly. We are aware that tobacco use, and some foods and drinks can stain our teeth, but there are also some medications that can cause our teeth to become discolored. Trauma to a tooth, or teeth, can also make them turn darker. Then there is aging in general. Over time, the outer enamel gets thinner with brushing and more of the yellowish dentin shows through.
What are your teeth whitening options?
- Toothpaste – The most basic method is whitening toothpaste. Look for brands that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance for stain removal as they have additional polishing agents that are safe for your teeth and are effective for stain removal.
- Over the counter bleaching products – These are toothpastes, strips or kits that contain low concentrations of bleaching agents to help lighten teeth, but need to be used consistently for optimal results.
- In-office whitening – This procedure is performed in the dental office and usually requires a couple of hours. Results are immediate but can cause a high level of sensitivity and will need to be touched up later with home whitening.
- At home bleaching – Custom molds of your teeth are made by your dentist. A bleaching gel is inserted into the trays and worn for an hour or longer depending on the strength of the gel. This is a good option if you prefer whitening at home, but with the guidance of your dentist.
Important information about whitening
These products contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, both of which break down stains making the color less dense and your teeth look brighter. At C R Dental Group, Dr. James Reisman and Dr. Jordana Contrucci want patients to know that teeth that have been restored with crowns, veneers or fillings will not bleach. Neither will it be effective on teeth that are discolored due to medications or injury. They advise not to overuse whitening material as it can cause tooth sensitivity and even damage enamel and/or gums. Be sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year, and always talk to them about any questions or concerns you may have regarding your pearly whites.