Whiter, Brighter Teeth
Healthy white teeth go really well with a summertime tan. Between upcoming weddings, vacations, and graduations, we are often asked, “What can I do to get my teeth whiter?”
There are several good ways to whiten teeth. To understand them, it helps to know why our teeth darken in the first place. As teeth age, stains accumulate from the different substances we expose them to. Coffee, sodas, tea, tobacco, grape juice, and red wine are some of the worst offenders. These stains accumulate in the pores of our teeth and cause them to darken or yellow. Routine professional cleaning will remove some staining, but severely darkened teeth need a little extra boost to get them back to being pearly.
Some of the most widely used options are over-the-counter products. It seems like everywhere we look, there are advertisements for “whitening” toothpastes, mouth rinses, and the like. Be very wary of any product that is supposed to whiten your teeth, but doesn’t actually touch your teeth for more than a few seconds to minutes. There are some over-the-counter products that do whiten teeth, but it is often difficult and expensive to try and find the “right” ones.
A better option for whiter teeth is to ask your dentist to make a custom set of take-home bleaching trays. These trays are fit to your teeth from a mould taken at the dentist office. You then place the prescribed bleaching gel into the trays and wear them for a prescribed length of time. Depending on what has stained your teeth, you will see results in a few days to a few weeks.
A quicker option for whiter teeth is in-office whitening. You go to your dentist for about an hour and walk out with brighter teeth. A shield is placed to protect lips and gums and an extra strength whitening agent is used. After the treatment, a desensitizer is applied to prevent temperature sensitivity. This is the most costly way to whiten your teeth, but many people prefer the convenience.
There are multiple ways to get those pearly whites back into shape. Whatever option you choose, it is a good idea to consult with your dentist and make sure you don’t have any front fillings or crowns that would clash with your new, whiter smile.
Until next time, keep smiling.
-Questions, comments, or suggestions can be emailed to Drs. Chip and Jennifer Parrish through www.ParrishDental.com.