Most people crave a brilliant white smile of perfectly formed teeth, but few of us are blessed with either, especially as we age. Everything from dark-colored drinks to thinning enamel can cause teeth to appear stained or yellowed. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with dingy teeth; you have options.
At Le Dentistry & Associates in Norcross, Georgia, Phuong Le, DMD, Uyen Hoang, DMD, and their team provide a stellar in-office whitening system, as well as at-home kits guaranteed to make you look your best. Here’s what you need to know.
The causes of dull and stained teeth
According to the US National Library of Medicine, any color other than white or yellowish-white is considered abnormal. When teeth become discolored, it can either be a result of extrinsic or intrinsic factors.
Extrinsic factors affect the hard enamel that covers the teeth. Although enamel is easily stained, those stains can usually be removed or corrected. Perhaps the primary cause of extrinsic yellowing comes from lifestyle, which includes smoking or chewing tobacco; drinking dark drinks like coffee, tea, red wine, and soda; and eating fruits such as blueberries, cherries, pomegranates, and beets.
Foods and drinks that are acidic can help promote staining by wearing away the tooth enamel, making it easier for pigments to stick and stay.
Intrinsic stains form in the dentin, the inner structure of the tooth, which makes them more difficult to remove. A number of medications can cause yellowing, as can chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Age can also cause a yellowish appearance, as the outer enamel thins over time, revealing the dentin beneath. According to the Mayo Clinic, the best way to protect against thinning enamel is encouraging saliva production. The saliva washes away food particles and plaque from the tooth surface before they have a chance to stain.
The teeth whitening process
Tooth whitening systems use a peroxide-based bleaching agent, either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Over-the-counter drugstore kits contain very little of the active ingredient, they can take months to lighten teeth even a little bit, and the trays are a one-size-fits-nobody mold.
In contrast, at-home kits provided by your dentist use trays that are custom-made and contain gels composed of 3-20% peroxide. In-office dental whitening systems use either tray-based gels or lasers and contain from 15-43% peroxide.
Though it may seem like a good idea to use a stronger agent for a longer time to achieve maximum whiteness, you actually want to decrease the time the gel is in contact with your teeth and gums. That’s because the longer it’s used, the more likely it will dehydrate the teeth, increasing gum and tooth sensitivity.
Tooth whitening procedures work best when teeth are yellowed, but they’re less effective if the teeth are brown. For people with gray or purple teeth, it’s likely tooth whitening won't work at all.
Are you tired of looking in the mirror and seeing a mouth full of dull or stained teeth? We have just the teeth whitening treatment for you. Give Le Dentistry a call or book an appointment online.