There is no denying that most people want healthy, straight, white teeth. However, stained teeth aren’t necessarily an indicator of poor oral health like some people may think. The causes behind stained teeth can range from your genetics to the environment you live in to your daily habits.
The vast majority of people don’t understand all of the factors at play when it comes to teeth stains. That’s why Dr. Raynald L. Desameau, DMD, your friendly dentist in Pineville, has put together this post to tell you everything you need to know about teeth stains and teeth whitening.
What Is Teeth Whitening?
Simply put, teeth whitening is a dental procedure that lightens or removes stains to help make teeth look whiter. This process can address most kinds of stains and, in some cases, it can make your teeth look lighter by up to 8 shades in just one session.
You may have noticed that the terms “teeth whitening” and “teeth bleaching” are often used interchangeably. Most people think they mean the same thing. However, the teeth whitening and teeth bleaching process differs depending on the procedure that is needed to whiten the teeth.
For an in-office teeth bleaching, the peroxide-based bleaching agents that your dentist will use come in a much stronger concentration than you would find in an at-home teeth whitening kit. During a teeth bleaching session, your dentist will also use a combination of heat and light to speed up the whitening process.
For teeth whitening, the products that most people use have a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide and are more suitable for at-home use. That’s why certain whitening toothpastes and over-the-counter teeth whiteners can be found in your local grocer. While these products are also effective at whitening teeth, the results can take a longer time to show, and the product has to be applied consistently for it to work.
In other words, both teeth bleaching and teeth whitening do the same thing. However, in-office teeth bleaching is often faster and provides more dramatic results.
Finding the Right Materials for Teeth Whitening at Home
If you want to try teeth whitening at home, it’s important to get the right at-home kit. There are a variety of teeth whitening options to choose from, the most common being:
- Tooth Whitening Strips and Gels – These products can provide you with a relatively easy and effective way to whiten your teeth. However, you will need to use them consistently to get the results you want.
- Tooth Whitening Toothpaste – This kind of toothpaste contains active teeth polishing agents that minimize the appearance of stains and brighten the teeth by one to two shades.
- Tray-Based Tooth Bleaching – With this method, a mouth guard filled with a peroxide-based bleaching paste or gel is worn for an extended period, usually for several hours a day for four weeks.
An in-office whitening, on the other hand, requires the expertise of a trained dentist because it involves a much stronger concentration of the whitening agent. This procedure gives tremendously fast results and can brighten your teeth by three to eight shades within 20 – 60 minutes. At most, you may have to make two trips to the dentist to get optimal results.
Causes of Tooth Discoloration
It’s important to know the cause of your stained teeth so you can figure out how to keep your teeth white after a teeth whitening session. Repeating the same bad habits will yellow your teeth again, regardless of how efficient the treatment was initially.
Unfortunately, even with good dental hygiene, naturally white teeth can still get discolored over time. This usually happens when you repeatedly drink or eat certain substances – like dark sodas and candies – that stain your enamel. If you don’t brush your teeth right after eating and drinking these teeth-staining foods and drinks, your teeth will eventually begin to turn yellow.
However, it’s important to note that your diet isn’t the only factor to pay attention to. Here are a few causes of tooth discoloration that you should to watch out for:
Starchy Foods and Drinks
Starchy foods are one of the biggest causes of tooth discoloration. Eating starchy foods will cause the enamel to darken over time. For the sake of your dental health and your overall health, it’s best to minimize the amount of starchy foods you eat, such as potatoes and pasta.
You should also do your best to avoid drinks like coffee, wine, and tea if you want to keep your teeth white. Drinking these kinds of drinks leaves residue on your enamel, which causes it to become yellow.
Aging will also cause tooth discoloration over time. The older we get, the more we expose our tooth enamel to various substances. Thankfully, in-office teeth whitening can safely brighten your teeth regardless of how old you are.
Tobacco is a narcotic that contains nicotine and tar, which both have adverse side effects on our oral health and overall health. One of the most common effects of smoking is stained teeth and lips. When you smoke, the nicotine and tar seep into your tooth enamel and give it a yellowish hue.
Genetics also play a huge role in the color of your teeth. Not everyone has naturally white teeth. Some people have slightly yellow teeth because of how thin their enamel layer is. Dentin has a yellow color, which reflects more when the enamel layer is not very thick. People with thicker enamel tend to have whiter teeth.
Medication Side Effects
Certain drugs (like tetracycline and doxycycline) will cause tooth discoloration with long-term use, especially in children. Medications like antihistamines, antipsychotics, and antihypertensives are also known to cause tooth discoloration in adults.
Poor Dental Hygiene
While it isn’t the only cause, poor dental hygiene is still one of the biggest causes of stained teeth. Dirt and grime build-up on the teeth eventually leads to permanent stains. However, even some of the most stubborn stains can be taken care of with in-office teeth bleaching and proper dental hygiene.
Is It Possible To Have Naturally White Teeth?
Everyone’s body is different, and genetics vary from person to person. With that in mind, you may be wondering: is it possible for someone to have white teeth naturally without getting professional teeth bleaching?
Previously, we discussed how enamel affects the color of your teeth. When you have thick enamel, it covers up the yellow hue of your dentine, which makes your teeth appear white. The only way to have thick enamel is to be born with it.
That’s why, in some cases, you can’t make your teeth look as white as someone else’s regardless of how hard you brush or how good your oral hygiene routine is. If your enamel layer is thin, it’s even more important for you to avoid excessively acidic foods and drinks. It’s also important to avoid tobacco and maintain your overall health.
While you may not be able to get your teeth to look as white as someone else’s naturally, it’s more important to make sure that you’re taking care of them and keeping them healthy with proper preventative dental care.
Tooth Discoloration Signs To Look Out For
Tooth discoloration is usually easy to spot, but sometimes you may have to look closely to catch early signs of discoloration. Sometimes your teeth will yellow slowly over a long period of time, shade by shade. Yet, in some cases, you may notice discoloration in the form of dark or white spots on your teeth.
If you notice discolored spots on your teeth, it’s important to set up an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Dark or light spots on your teeth can be a sign of tooth decay. If tooth decay is not addressed early enough, it can turn into a cavity and, eventually, an abscess that affects the deepest layer of your tooth. If you have a cavity, you will likely need a root canal to save your tooth.
How To Prevent Tooth Discoloration and Maintain Naturally White Teeth
- Brushing regularly, twice a day
- Using straws to drink dark liquids to keep them from staining your teeth
- Flossing between your teeth before you go to bed to get rid of any dirt that could be stuck in between your teeth
- Reducing the amount of coffee, red wine, and soda that you drink
- Avoiding smoking any kind of tobacco products
Why Professional Teeth Bleaching in Pineville Is the Best Teeth Whitening Option
Thankfully, tooth discoloration is usually a treatable condition, and you can get an in-office bleaching session for faster and long-lasting results. However, teeth bleaching isn’t the only way our dentist can help you get the radiant smile you dream of.
Here are a few dental procedures that can help you brighten your teeth:
In-Office Teeth Whitening
At our dental office in Pineville, we use Zoom! teeth whitening. This dental procedure requires only one to two sessions for it to work. During a whitening session, your teeth will be bleached with active whitening ingredients, including carbide and a hydrogen peroxide solution.
After your session is done, you will immediately notice the difference. Zoom! whitening creates dramatic results, and it can brighten your teeth up to 8 shades. In addition, you can expect to keep your radiant smile for 12-24 months!
Dental veneers are a more permanent cosmetic solution that is placed on top of the teeth to correct dental problems like crooked teeth, malocclusions, or tooth discoloration. Depending on the type of veneers you get, you can expect them to remain white for years. However, they will still need a touch up eventually, which can be done by visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning.
Benefits of Teeth Whitening
There are several huge benefits of whitening your teeth. Teeth whitening is one of the best treatments you can get if you’re looking for a confidence boost. When you’re proud to show off your smile, your confidence will shine through in pictures and at events. That’s why many people like to get their teeth whitened right before a big party or before a photo op.
Getting your teeth whitened can also make you pay more attention to your teeth in the long term, which will help you spot oral health issues early on. As always, however, it’s best to visit your dentist regularly for a teeth cleaning and dental checkup to make sure your teeth stay healthy and white.
Where To Find the Best Teeth Whitening Service in Pineville, NC
Have you started noticing signs of discoloration on your teeth? Have been trying over and over again to whiten your teeth all to no avail? We can provide you with a better and longer-lasting solution in record time.
At Radiant Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we provide effective teeth whitening in Pineville, NC. Your dental health is our top priority, and we do everything we can to give you the radiant smile you deserve with our list of comprehensive dental services.