Brightening Your Smile: What Are Your Options?
It seems everyone at some point in their life has come up against the inevitable problem of yellowing teeth. In the United States, people spent over $1.4 billion in over-the-counter teeth whitening solutions. It’s clear that we all want to keep our teeth looking sparkly and clean, but is there an effective solution out there? What are the options?
Why do our teeth turn yellow?
One thing to remember about yellowing teeth is that part of it is just a natural result of aging. As you grow older, eat sugary foods, and submit your mouth to general wear-and-tear, the enamel on your teeth erodes, allowing the dentin, a naturally yellow layer of your teeth, to show through. This type of discoloration is normal and varies depending on how thick your enamel was to begin with. While whitening techniques can help change the color of your teeth, it can’t grow enamel back. That’s gone forever.
The other type of yellowing comes from outside sources, many of which are preventable, and, as with most things, it’s better to stop the problem before it starts. Factors such as poor dental hygiene or ingestion of certain staining foods or liquids (e.g. cherries, blueberries, coffee and tea to name a few) can discolor teeth prematurely, creating stains or build up on the enamel. This is the yellowing most people think of when it comes to unhealthy looking teeth.
Is there a solution in your local store?
If you go into any local drug store, you will find shelves full of products promising to transform your teeth back into the pearly whites they once were. Mouthwashes, toothpastes, whitestrips, and even some brands of gum offer whitening solutions. But are any of them effective? The short answer is: it depends.
If you look at the ingredients to pretty much any over-the-counter whitening solution, you’ll find they have one common item: peroxide, a common type of bleaching agent. In theory this ingredient can help turn your teeth from yellow to white, but there are a few factors to keep in mind.
- You need healthy teeth. No whitener is a miracle worker. If you don’t brush regularly, a whitener cannot win that battle. Furthermore, whitening chemicals can be very painful if there are any cavities present.
- It takes time. None of the over-the-counter options will work overnight. To really make a difference, these products need to be used on a regular basis for weeks or even months. Mouthwashes, because they are in your mouth for such a short period of time, will have little to no effect when it comes to whitening your teeth. White strips, after a while, can whiten teeth, but they require some patience.
- There’s a limit to their strength. Just like over-the-counter medication, you can only get so much without the supervision or approval of a doctor. The items you buy in stores can’t rival the strength of what a dentist can provide with proper oversight.
- They can be misused. Without guidance from a professional, it can be easy to waste money on ineffective solutions, or overuse the effective ones. If you do go the over-the-counter route, pay attention to the health of your own teeth and the warnings on the label.
What We Offer
While you can spend your money on over-the-counter products, we offer a number of safer, faster, and more effective solutions to get your teeth as white as they can be.
- ZOOM whitening. This is our most state-of-the-art whitening solution. The powerful hydrogen peroxide solution is activated by the ZOOM LED technology, helping to penetrate the surface of the tooth and whiten teeth up to 8 shades in less than 2 hours. For those wanting an immediate, visible difference in the color of their teeth, this is the best solution. With the new ZOOM protocol, even our patients who have experienced some sensitivity in the past experience little to no sensitivity during the whitening process.
- Take home bleach trays. These are custom made to fit each of our patients individually. We provide a concentrated bleaching agent that is put into clear splints and worn only a couple hours at night for around 8 nights. This is an effective solution, though it does have the highest possibility of tooth sensitivity out of the products we offer.
- White strips. If you’re looking to whiten your teeth only a little, or just maintain your current, healthy-looking smile, we offer various brands of white strips, more powerful than what you can get in store.
It’s important to remember that the results will vary on any whitening solution, and, for some, there may be increased teeth sensitivity for a short period of time. However, we have consistently achieved excellent results with the solutions we offer.
Schedule an appointment today, or ask us about your options at your next checkup and we can help guide you through the options and pick the best choice for the white teeth you desire.