Learn How Teeth Whitening Can Change Your Smile And Your Self-Confidence
Everyone wants a bright, white smile. Teeth whitening services have seen a rapid growth in popularity over the last few years, and have become one of the most requested services offered by our practice. We all see the options advertised on television for products we can buy at the local pharmacy that promise to whiten our teeth in just one week. The reality is that over-the-counter, “too good to be true” solutions typically do not provide the results you hope for. Dr. Nikki Green, your gentle dentist in Ft. Worth, offers professional whitening products that will turn your dull, discolored smile into a dazzlingly gorgeous grin.
To learn more about the teeth whitening process or schedule an appointment, contact our Ft. Worth, TX dental office today.
What Causes Teeth Stains?
Unfortunately, your teeth will darken over time. We offer a variety of whitening options to combat the changes in the color of your teeth. The outer enamel layer of the tooth works together with the dentin layer inside the tooth to give your teeth their natural color. Over the years, the effects of aging and daily wear and tear of chewing can cause the enamel layer to become thinner, allowing the yellow dentin layer to show through and creating the appearance of a discolored smile. For this type of discoloration, whitening treatments may not provide the most optimal solution. Dr. Green offers her patients other solutions for treating this problem, including dental bonding and porcelain veneers. Call our office for more information on these options.
Two types of stains can affect the color of patients’ teeth: Intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic stains emanate from the inside of the teeth, and may take more than just a whitening treatment to correct. While not as common as extrinsic stains, we have seen these stains cause our patients plenty of grief. Many whitening agents will absorb into the enamel and break up stains inside the tooth improving the color of your smile. Some root causes of intrinsic stains include:
- Antibiotics – One antibiotic in particular, tetracycline, when taken as a child or by your mother while you were in the womb, can cause intrinsic stains that prove very difficult to remove.
- Fluorosis – A discoloring of the teeth caused by an overexposure to fluoride as a child, this may result from swallowing toothpaste as a child, or over-fluoridated drinking water.
Extrinsic stains affect the outside of the tooth. These stains typically respond very well to whitening treatments, and most dentists can remove them and brighten your teeth by several shades in as little as one treatment. Causes of extrinsic stains may include:
- Wine – Red wine contributes to a large majority of the stains we see on the teeth of our adult patients. It contains tannins and chromogens, which have acidic properties and stain teeth quickly. Many people may not realize, however, that white wines can contribute to staining as well. Research shows that teeth exposed to white wine stain more easily when followed by beverages such as tea or cola, due to the acidic properties of the wine.
- Tobacco – One of the worst staining agents, tobacco, whether smoked or chewed, causes teeth to become yellow and stained after even brief use. Staining ingredients in tobacco include tar, naturally dark in color, and the naturally colorless nicotine, which turns yellow when combined with oxygen.
- Sauces – Rich sauces with deep colors, like tomato sauce and soy sauce, can contribute to the staining of your teeth.
- Berries – The skins of dark colored berries, like blueberries and cranberries can cause staining.
- Sweets – Usually not a big contributor to tooth staining if consumed in small quantities, candy, gum, and other sweets, can cause a slight discoloration of your teeth. Dr. Green tells her patients to remember that if it turns your tongue a different color, it will probably stain your teeth.
- Colas – Cola drinks contain acids and chromogens, which cause teeth to stain easily. Even light colored colas contain enough acids to promote staining by other food and beverages.
- Coffee and tea – Like red wine, these drinks both contain tannins, which promote staining. Experts say that black teas stain even worse than coffee. Meanwhile white, herbal, and green teas, do not contribute to the staining of teeth, and actually have proven beneficial to the health of humans.
Fighting Stains with Whitening Treatments
Patients looking for a brighter smile have several tooth whitening options to choose from. The local pharmacy will have several whitening toothpastes and strips for patients to choose from, for an inexpensive, do it yourself option, but these will only work to a small degree. Dr. Green uses the Zoom! whitening treatment in our office, and provide patients with a take home whitening kit they can use for brighter teeth in the comfort of their own homes.
Patients may purchase products specifically made for teeth whitening from their local pharmacy or grocery store. These include whitening strips, mouthwashes, and toothpastes. Store bought whitening agents provide patients with an inexpensive treatment that works well for removing the lightest surface stains on the teeth. Patients should realize, however, that these treatments will not affect any discoloration of their teeth. Before using any of these products, patients should consult with Dr. Green to ensure they will not harm their teeth.
- Whitening toothpaste – Regular toothpaste helps remove some stains from the surface of your teeth, but whitening toothpastes contain extra abrasive ingredients that scrub the surface of the teeth. Patients should make sure that the whitening toothpaste they choose comes recommended by the American Dental Association. Whitening toothpastes without the ADA seal of approval may contain harsh abrasives that can harm your teeth.
- Whitening strips – Whitening strips go on the front of your teeth, and offer the convenience of allowing you to accomplish other things while whitening your teeth. Most whitening strips contain a small amount of peroxide or bleach, which break down stain molecules, removing them from the teeth. The strips provide noticeable results in about a week, on average. The results typically last a few months, but users can prolong this with regular use of whitening toothpaste and by avoiding staining foods and beverages. As always, make sure the strips you use have the ADA seal of approval, as some contain whitening agents that strip the enamel from your teeth.
- Whitening Mouthwash – Used in conjunction with whitening toothpaste, whitening mouthwash contains small amounts of peroxide to help whiten areas patients cannot reach with a toothbrush and whitening toothpaste. A relatively new product, studies continue to assess the effectiveness of whitening mouthwashes.
Zoom! Teeth Whitening in Fort Worth
Dr. Green’s preferred whitening treatment is the Zoom! system. The treatment takes place in our Ft. Worth office, and takes about 90 minutes total. Dr. Green likes to start with a professional cleaning before the treatment, and will take the time to examine your teeth to determine the cause and severity of the stains. Then we will prepare you for the treatment by covering your lips and gums, leaving the teeth exposed. The doctor will apply the Zoom! whitening gel, which comes in regular, mint, or melon flavors, to your teeth and use a special lamp to activate the hydrogen peroxide contained in the whitening gel. As it breaks down, oxygen molecules enter the enamel and dentin, breaking apart the molecules that make up stains, while making no change to the structure of the tooth. After the treatment is complete, we will apply a fluoride gel to your teeth to reduce sensitivity. In just one visit, we will apply the solution, wait for the allotted time and reveal your brighter, whiter smile!
Dr. Green will provide you with a take home touch-up kit with custom fitted trays to help maintain your glowing smile. To keep your smile bright, you should stay away from coffee, tea, red wine, and other staining foods and beverages, or at least consume them in moderation. Maintaining good oral hygiene at home will help keep your teeth healthy and white.
Call Us for an Appointment
If you want to boost your self-confidence with a more pleasing smile, call us today to schedule an appointment with Fort Worth Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Nikki Green, for a whitening evaluation.