By: Claudia Quintanilla
Do you ever wonder how your favorite celebrity got his or her teeth so beautiful and white, that iconic hollywood smile? There are many options out there to help you get your teeth the absolute whitest possible, but first, let’s identify why and how teeth can become discolored.
- A major source of tooth discoloration can come directly from your diet! Eating foods such as pasta with tomato sauces, fruits like cranberries or blueberries, popsicles, and candy can cause a gradual change in the color of your teeth over time. And of course, we can’t forget beverages such as coffee, black teas, sodas and red wines that are often consumed daily and can have the same gradual effect. If eating or drinking something that may cause discoloration, it is recommended to brush as soon as possible afterwards. For drinks, have water in between sips or if possible drink through a straw.
- Another reason for teeth discoloration is poor oral hygiene. Not brushing and flossing as recommended by your dental hygienist can cause the buildup of plaque and tartar, which itself is discolored. If the buildup becomes severe enough, it can completely alter the color of your smile. Going to see your hygienist for routine cleanings is highly advised, as during the visit the hygienist will manually remove buildup and polish off surface stains.
- Smoking or chewing tobacco not only can cause staining and yellow teeth but also bad breath and gum disease. While smoking or chewing tobacco, stains travel deep into the cracks of your tooth enamel. These deep stains are incredibly difficult to remove.
- There are also some uncontrollable reasons that can affect the whiteness of our smiles. Some examples are age, genetics, medications, and trauma. As we age, the teeth’s enamel becomes thinner and over time the yellowish dentin can be seen underneath. When it comes to genetics, some individuals may have naturally thicker enamel and brighter smiles compared to others. Medications can also have an effect on your teeth; tetracycline is one antibiotic that is well known for causing tooth discoloration. Finally, if trauma occurs to your teeth, damage to the nerve can cause a change in color.
Luckily we live in a time where there are many solutions in which we can improve the brightness and overall appearance of our smile! You may have even seen products at the store or discussed your options at your dental visit. In case this is new to you, here are a few options that may help you get that smile you have always wanted.
- Products such as toothpastes and rinses may be able to help with removing stains and possibly whiten your teeth by approximately one shade
- Store bought bleach trays and strips can be purchased over the counter at many drug and grocery stores. However, these trays are not custom fitted to your mouth and may not fit perfectly, resulting in less than optimal results.
- At home bleaching kits that are purchased at your dental office include custom bleaching trays that are made to fit your teeth specifically, and come with bleaching agents. Some bleaching gels allow you to wear it for 15 minutes daily, and some can be applied for overnight use. Results may be seen in anywhere from a few days to up to 14 days, and many patients report excellent results.
- In office whitening such as the Zoom whitening system is the fastest way to see results. You can walk out the dental office anywhere from 3 to 8 shades brighter.
- In cases where the patient does not have the patience to whiten, or has stains that are beyond the results of whitening, anterior crowns are an excellent option for fast, permanent results.
Of course whitening your teeth can have some side effects. Tooth sensitivity can occur after using some of these products. This occurs because your teeth are being dehydrated during the whitening process. Gums can also become irritated if some of the bleaching gel comes in contact with tissues, so it is extremely important to use caution while applying the gel to the bleaching trays.
Cascades Center for Dental Health offers many different options to help our patient’s get the smile they have always dreamed of! Before starting any whitening treatment, be sure to consult with your dentist to find out what form of whitening is best for you!