There is more to a beautiful smile than straight teeth. Discolored and stained teeth can cause individuals to become self-conscious about their smile, even if all their teeth are perfectly aligned. Tooth whitening services brighten dull and discolored teeth to provide a vibrant smile you’ll have trouble hiding in public.
What Causes Teeth Discoloration?
Every day, we consume enough food and liquids to keep our bodies going strong. Unfortunately, certain types of food/drinks tend to bleed colors, causing staining to our teeth. After consuming several of these kinds of products over an extended period, our smile begins to dull and discolor, turning beautiful white
teeth unappealing shades of yellow, tan, and brown.
The most common substances known for staining teeth include:
Coffee drinks contain acidic polyphenols (or tannins) that can cause discoloration and staining in avid coffee drinkers. Coffee is also known to alter the pH level in the mouth, accelerating damage of any additional acidic food consumed after drinking your coffee.
Even if considered healthier to consume than other caffeinated beverages, tea contains the same tannins as coffee that cause acidic discoloration. Different types tea flavors result in various hues: green tea results in gray teeth, black tea results in yellow teeth.
Acidic and Citrus Foods:
Acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus fruits can cause yellowish stains to appear on teeth. Though healthy in composition, erosion of the tooth enamel is common with these fruits, causing the yellow tissues beneath the teeth (called dentin) to show through.
Sugary and Salty Snacks:
When you consume snacks such as chips, cookies, or candy, sugars in these treats can quickly cling to teeth. Bacteria in your mouth will feed on this build up, releasing acids on that lead to the cavities and tooth decay. Stains caused by this process are usually dark and unsightly looking.
Both red and white wine can cause discoloration to the teeth. Red wine can result in gray tinted teeth, while white wine leaves acid on the teeth quickly allowing other colored foods to stain.
Berries and Pomegranates:
Pomegranates and berries such as blackberries and blueberries are darkly pigmented. The stains these fruits can leave on clothing is similar to the color of stain left on teeth when consumed- and can be extremely hard to remove.
Tar and nicotine are quickly absorbed by your teeth when smoking tobacco products. Teeth can turn an unappetizing yellow color from these chemicals, that can continue to build up even with whitening treatments.
Types of Whitening Treatments
To help combat those pesky stains left by foods and drinks, teeth whitening treatments can be extremely useful in bringing back the whiteness to your smile. There are two types of procedures commonly used by cosmetic dentists to increase the vibrancy of your teeth:
Zoom!® Teeth Whitening:
One method of dramatically increasing the whiteness of your teeth is by undergoing Zoom!® teeth whitening. This process lasts about 60 minutes with instant results. Teeth on average increase about six shades whiter, but have been known to increase up to ten shades in the most favorable cases.
Zoom!® teeth whitening treatments start with the application of a gel. Once applied to both the top and bottom teeth, the gel is activated with a blue plasma light. This low-intensity light allows the gel to break down stubborn stains. Touch up kits are also available for individuals to bring home if they begin to notice signs of slight staining. Zoom!® is perfect for individuals with busy schedules and lifestyles. Patients can conveniently come in and out of an appointment with an immediately whiter teeth, prepared for the rest of their day!
Home Whitening Trays:
Patients who are unable to attend regularly scheduled appointments for whitening treatments will love the option of take-home teeth whitening. These whitening trays are customized for each case to ensure every area of the mouth is covered thoroughly. To fabricate the trays, at least one appointment will be required for the dental impressions to be made.
Each kit comes with a set of trays, gel, and specific instructions to follow for optimal results. Typically, brushing and flossing are recommended before whitening to remove bacteria and food that could cause spots. The gel is applied to the teeth and covered with a tray to be worn for a specific amount of time- varying based on the shade you are looking to achieve. At-home whitening trays allow for complete flexibility in your treatment, as well as control in the shade of whiteness you’re looking to achieve.
Are There Side-Effects to Professional Whitening?
In some cases, patients who have undergone professional teeth whitening may experience mild tooth sensitivity during treatments. Most patients feel nothing during the whitening procedure, but others report a tingly or zapping feeling in the teeth. In instances where tooth sensitivity is severe, your dental provider may alter the schedule of whitening services in your treatment plan.
Gum irritation is another side-effect that could cause some discomfort in patients with sensitive tissue. Due to the peroxide bleach in the gel, sensitive gums can be irritated by the substance when coming in direct contact. To prevent damage from occurring to the gums and tissues, dentists use a dental dam to isolate the teeth before beginning the whitening treatment. This allows the dentist to limit the amount of gel placed on the teeth and direct it away from the gums to reduce discomfort.
Some patients who have had painless tooth whitening sessions report feeling discomfort a few hours after. These symptoms will subside within a short period. For patients who experience post tooth sensitivity, home remedies and over the counter rinses and pastes can help with decreasing sensitivity in the teeth. Any continued sensitivity or pain should be reported to your dental provider as soon as possible to evaluate for further dental concerns.
Whitening your teeth can be one of the best decisions you make to increase the confidence in your smile. If you’re interested in exploring your options for professional whitening services, consult with your dentist about how to achieve your new, luminous smile.