Are you proud of your smile when you scroll through the pictures on your phone, but then are less than impressed when you’re standing at the bathroom sink? Filters and lighting enhancements give you the brightest smile! But in real life, you wish your teeth were whiter. Too bad you can’t put a filter over your co-worker’s eyes or your bathroom mirror. But the good news is, you don’t have to rely on your phone’s editing technology to give you the smile of your dreams. With simple, affordable teeth-whitening options, a brighter smile is possible today.
Why Do Our Teeth Change Color?
If you’ve noticed that throughout your lifetime, your teeth begin to have a more yellow tint, you’re not alone--and you didn’t ruin your teeth. It’s natural for white teeth to look duller over the years. Here are several reasons your teeth may be looking not-so-white these days:
1. Food and Drink: Coffee, tea, and red wine all contain color pigments called chromogens that attach to the enamel and stain your teeth. (Have we just listed your favorite beverages? Don’t worry, keep reading!)
2. Tobacco Use: Tar and nicotine are two chemicals found in tobacco products that are known for staining teeth. While tar is a dark color, nicotine is colorless until it mixes with oxygen, then it creates a yellowish tint on your teeth.
3. Age: Dentin is a softer, yellowish layer of teeth below the hard, white surface called enamel. As you age, the enamel becomes thinner and the dentin becomes more prevalent.
4. Trauma: If you experience trauma to your mouth, you may notice your tooth/teeth become darker as a result of the injury.
5. Medications: Some antihistamines, antipsychotics, and high blood pressure medications have side effects that include darkening the color of your teeth. Discoloration as an adult could also be a result of exposure to certain antibiotics as a young child or infant in your mother’s womb.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth whitening products contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide that bleach your teeth. The bleach breaks up the stains so that the darker color is less concentrated and your teeth appear brighter.
Will It Work on My Teeth?
Teeth whitening options do not work on all teeth. Yellow teeth are more likely to bleach compared to brown or gray teeth. Whitening does not work on caps, veneers, crowns or fillings, or to reverse discoloration caused by medications or trauma. If you’re in the Bryan-College Station area, we recommend scheduling an appointment with us. We’ll make sure teeth-whitening products will effectively brighten your smile, and help you decide which option is best for you.
What Are My Teeth Whitening Options?
At Anderson and Atkins, DDS, we offer three teeth whitening options.
1. In-office Professional Whitening: During this procedure, a dentist will apply a protective gel to your gums and then apply bleach to your teeth. In most cases, only one office visit is necessary to give your smile a new life.
2. Custom At-Home Bleaching: We use the Opalescence tooth whitening system that provides you with prescription-strength whitening gel, a customized tray that fits perfectly over your teeth. Initially, you’ll work with your dentist and receive detailed instructions on how to use the whitening trays at home. In two to four weeks, this dentist-supervised whitening process will safely and effectively change your smile.
3. Prefabricated Bleaching Trays: This option has a lower concentration of bleach, but can still be effective. We’ll help you determine which prefabricated bleaching tray is best for you.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Many people who whiten their teeth experience temporary tooth sensitivity. If the peroxide in the whitener passes through the enamel into the dentin, your teeth can become irritated. If you experience sensitivity, take a break from treatment until the sensitivity subsides, then you can continue whitening. Before you whiten your teeth, talk with your dentist so you avoid overuse and risk damaging your enamel or gums.
If you’d like to learn more about the teeth whitening options at Anderson and Atkins Dentistry, call our office to schedule an appointment.