Your teeth are one of the very first things that people notice about you. The natural enamel of your teeth is a bright white color, which gives you a dazzling smile. However, your enamel can become stained over time, dulling the color of your teeth, and diminishing the quality of your smile. Discolored teeth can send the wrong impression, and age you beyond your years. At National Dental, we can restore the bright white color of your tooth enamel with whitening.
How Are Your Teeth Discolored?
Discoloration of your teeth can occur due to some different factors:
- Foods and beverages. Certain foods and drinks contain dark pigments that stick to your enamel, dulling the whiteness. Common offenders are coffee, tea, red wine, dark berries, tomato-based foods and curries.
- Smoking (and other tobacco products). Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals. Two in particular are responsible for staining. These are tar, which is naturally dark in color, and nicotine. Nicotine is colorless until it comes into contact with oxygen.
- Medications. Certain blood pressure, allergy and asthma medications can contribute to staining. Medications like doxycycline and tetracycline can darken your teeth from the inside. They can affect the color of a child’s permanent teeth. Even an unborn baby can eventually develop dark permanent teeth if you take these medications while pregnant.
- Your age. As you get older, your enamel thins, leaving the dentin (which is naturally darker in color) to show through.
Over the Counter Whitening
There are several over the counter whitening products available. These consist of toothpaste, strips, gels, and pens. Whitening toothpaste contains abrasives, which are meant to remove surface stains. Other products contain very low levels of bleaching agents. While they can work for minor stains, they typically cannot give you the results you are seeking.
At National Dental, we provide two whitening procedures. The first is done right in our office. It is known as chairside whitening and takes approximately an hour of your time. After a protective gel is placed on your gums, the bleaching agent (which contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) is placed on your teeth. Light is directed at your teeth, which activates the bleaching agent and enhances the results. When your treatment is over, your teeth will be several shades whiter right away.
Take Home Whitening Trays
The other available professional treatment is take home trays. We provide you with custom fit trays (created from molds of your mouth) and a bleaching agent. You wear the trays anywhere between 4 to 8 hours a day for a specified number of days. Your teeth will be noticeably whiter in just a few days.
Keeping Your Teeth White
Whitening is not a permanent solution. There are ways, however, to prolong the effects. Steps include:
- Limiting the number of staining foods and beverages you consume.
- Following dark foods and beverages with water.
- Drinking through a straw (which limits contact with your teeth).
- Quitting tobacco products (smoking, chewing tobacco).
- Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.
Benefits of Whitening
Professional whitening has several benefits:
- Your teeth will be several shades whiter in less time.
- Your smile will be greatly enhanced.
- You will look younger.
- You will have more confidence.
If your teeth have become discolored, call National Dental Melville at (631) 816-2277 to discuss your whitening options today.