A beautiful, white smile: it's one of the first things you notice when meeting someone. That's why many patients visit our office to inquire about teeth whitening.
So what causes tooth discoloration in the first place?
- Aging: As we age, the enamel on our teeth naturally wears down, revealing the yellowish dentin beneath. It's a natural part of aging but with whitening techniques, we can help your smile look younger!
- Food and Drinks: Consuming dark-colored foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, red wine, cola, and berries can stain teeth over time. Dr. Birch's favorite offender? Coke. You can find him discoloring his teeth with this tasty beverage on a regular basis!
- Tobacco Use: Smoking or chewing tobacco can lead to yellow or brown discoloration of the teeth.
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing can allow plaque and stains to build up on the teeth, causing discoloration. In cases where professional cleaning doesn't whiten and brighten as much as a patient would like, whitening is an option.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as antihistamines, antipsychotics, and some antibiotics, can cause tooth discoloration as a side effect. And even some patients have residual effects from antibiotics used by their mothers while in the womb!
- Trauma: A fall or injury to the teeth can damage the tooth's pulp, leading to discoloration. Ever seen a child who fell and hit their mouth and has a discolored tooth? Dr. Birch sees it all the time.
- Fluorosis: Excessive intake of fluoride during tooth development can cause white or brown spots on the teeth.
- Genetic Factors: Some individuals may have naturally darker or more yellowish dentin, which can make the teeth appear discolored.
So what can be done? There are different options:
DIY (sort of!): You can use whitening toothpaste and gels. There are plenty on the market and Dr. Birch is happy to discuss which products are his favorite. But a great way to whiten at home with better results is by scheduling an appointment to have custom trays made. These are clear trays that fit your teeth perfectly. You'll be given a prescription-grade whitening gel. Each day, simply add a drop of whitening gel to your tray and wear it for up to 20 minutes. Follow the instructions provided with the gel from Dr. Birch. If your teeth are sensitive, you can wear the trays for shorter periods of time.
In-house whitening: When getting your teeth whitened in the office, a blue LED light is combined with a gel. The response? Amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) helps deliver enamel protection, improve luster, and reduce sensitivity while whitening your teeth.