Teeth whitening before and afterEveryone wants whiter teeth, Michels & Gauquie Cosmetic & Family Dentistry has some advice on Teeth Whitening Options that are the best ways to achieve that goal. Your teeth can change color due to several different causes, food, drink, tobacco use, age, trauma, and medications.

Under a tooth’s hard, white outer shell is a layer of dentin, it’s a softer more absorbent substance. Your enamel gets thinner over time with brushing and the dentin can show through as you age. A tooth can also change color because it has sustained injury and healed by creating a thicker layer of dentin.

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Association of Orthodontists, when people were asked what they most wanted to improve about their appearance, the most common response was whiter teeth.

Coffee, tea and red wine can all stain teeth because of their intense color pigments. They attach to the enamel of your tooth. Smoking is also a leading cause of staining. Tar and nicotine are the main ingredients of cigarettes. Tar is naturally dark and nicotine is colorless but turns yellowish when combined with air. Certain allergy and high blood pressure medications may also darken your teeth. Children who are exposed to certain types of antibiotics as children may suffer from discoloration of their teeth as adults.

Most toothpastes help remove surface stains. Make sure to choose a whitening toothpaste that has earned the ADA approval for stain removal. These have additional polishing agents. Unlike bleaches, these products do not change tooth color because they are only able to remove surface stains.

Teeth can be whitened using products that contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These bleaches break the stains down into smaller pieces, This affects how the color looks. However, this method doesn’t work on all teeth. Yellow teeth may bleach well, but those that are brown or gray may not react as well or at all. Whitening will not work on any caps, veneers, crowns, or fillings. Unfortunately, whitening products are unable to work on injured teeth or those changed by medications.

Over-the-counter whitening products can be purchased online or in your local retail stores. They may include strips, trays with gels, or pastes that bleach your teeth. These have a lower concentration of active bleach than professional products that Michels & Gauquie Cosmetic & Family Dentistry may use. It’s possible that tooth whitening may cause areas of sensitivity. Sometimes the peroxide can irritate your tooth nerves. This is often a temporary issue, however you should delay further treatments if it happens. The Overuse of whiteners can damage your tooth enamel or gums, so don’t exceed the recommended usage and please reach out to our office if you have questions.

In-office bleaching often only requires a single visit to our office. You can also get an at-home, custom-made tray from your dentist and bleach your own teeth. You can then whiten your teeth at a slower pace, but still with the guidance of a dentist. This can take a few days to weeks.