When you look at pictures of yourself, do you see that your teeth aren’t as white as they used to be? You’re not alone. About 80% of Americans would like to have whiter teeth. But there’s good news! It’s not only possible to whiten your teeth, but you can get up to 8 shades whiter with teeth whitening solutions from a qualified cosmetic dentist.
Anatomy of the Tooth
Understanding why tooth color fades can help you know how to fix it. It all starts
Did you know that the tooth is not just a solid white substance? The enamel—the white, rock-hard mineral shell of the tooth—is what gives the tooth its classic white shade. However, inside the tooth under the enamel, there is a yellow layer of microscopic tubes called dentin. When the enamel experiences hot or cold or is damaged, sensitivity or pain is communicated through these tubes to the nerves in the pulp, or soft inner structure of the tooth.
Reasons for Faded Color
Teeth inevitably darken, which means the white layer of enamel has thinned and the yellow layer of dentin becomes more apparent. There are several causes:
- Smoking and chewing tobacco
- Drinking coffee
- Taking certain antibiotics at a young age
- Experiencing radiation and chemotherapy
- Grinding teeth
- Eating deeply colored foods, like pomegranate or tomato sauce
Dental Whitening Treatments
Although you can buy over-the-counter whitening strips, they are far less effective than getting whitening treatments from your dentist. There are two types of treatment methods that dentists use: the slower solution that patients use at home or the quicker one that occurs in the dental office.
Whether at-home or in-office, the overall process is the same. Both methods use hydrogen peroxide as the bleaching agent. It reacts with the stains, changing their chemical structure and removing the discoloration.
Prevent Future Staining
Even after whitening treatment, over time the color of your teeth will darken again. However, you can prevent some staining by adjusting a few lifestyle choices, such stopping smoking or cutting back on coffee and wine. You can also use a straw when drinking beverages to keep the staining pigments away from your teeth. And, of course, you need to continue basic proper dental maintenance, such as brushing and flossing daily and visiting the dentist regularly. If all else fails, you could ask your dentist for a touch up to restore the full brightness of your smile.
It may seem like a little step, but whitening your teeth can have a huge impact on your smile and your confidence. So ask your dentist today about teeth whitening!
About the Author
Dr. Richard Cea has more than 25 years of experience as a dentist, 18 of which have been spent serving the Colorado Springs community. At Springs Dental Care, he is dedicated to providing exceptional care with clinical expertise. He uses the take-home whitening solution, which gives patients control over how white their becomes. You can contact Dr. Cea by calling (719) 637-1772 or clicking here.