Do you ever look in the mirror, smile, and then grimace at what you see? It’s not abnormal to want to see bright, white teeth every time you grin into the glass. Between colour dye in the foods we eat, coffee, and wine, your teeth are bound to stain after some time.
From at-home teeth whitening kits to laser treatments at the dentist’s options, there is a multitude of treatment options to choose from. However, it can feel a little overwhelming when you’re trying to decide where to start.
Worse yet, some of the treatment options are ineffective and unsafe.
In this teeth whitening guide, we’ll review the causes of discolouration and your treatment options. We’ll also review a few ways you can keep your teeth white after treatment.
It’s no wonder cosmetic tooth bleaching is a $3.2 billion global industry and growing fast.
See your teeth shine the next time you look into the mirror with this teeth whitening guide!
Causes of Discoloration
Are you wondering why your teeth started to lose their white glean in the first place?
For starters, your teeth aren’t naturally bright white. Rather, the enamel that covers your teeth is more of a blueish-white shade. A tooth’s natural translucency makes it easier for the yellow dentin layer beneath your enamel to shine through.
Your protective enamel will start to fade as you age. As a result, it’s normal for your teeth to become yellow with time.
Unfortunately, we also accelerate the process by eating and drinking certain foods.
For example, berries have a deep hue that often stains the teeth. Brightly coloured spices and sauces, such as turmeric and curry, can also cause stains. The acidity in tomatoes doesn’t help, either.
Try using lighter, creamier versions of your favourite sauces to reduce the chance you’ll stain your teeth.
Coffee, tea, and wine can cause stains, too.
The dark colour of coffee and black tea can erode your enamel and cause staining. Meanwhile, the tannins in your favourite glass of red wine turn your teeth a shade of grey. Consider lighter, herbal teas or white wines to minimize staining.
Other unhealthy habits can contribute to tooth decay and discolouration, such as sugary soft drinks and smoking. With time, the nicotine and tar in tobacco can even turn your teeth brown.
Teeth whitening can improve your natural tooth colour, making it five to seven shades brighter.
However, you can’t achieve brighter teeth whitening shades with at-home treatments if your teeth are too dark.
Teeth Whitening at the Dentist
After reading this teeth whitening guide, you might decide to make an appointment for whitening with your dentist.
A professional treatment is often the more effective option. A dentist will know how to complete the procedure safely and help you limit side effects.
Check-in with your dentist to see which tooth whitening procedures they have available.
For example, your dentist might suggest laser teeth whitening. During this procedure, a dentist will use lasers to apply a concentrated gel to the surface of your teeth.
Your dentist will apply a rubber seal to your gums first. Then, they’ll cover your teeth with a bleaching product like hydrogen peroxide.
This procedure is one of the more expensive options, but it also provides the fastest results.
Your dentist might also suggest bleaching, which involves using custom trays to apply a whitening gel to your teeth. The gel you’ll receive at the dentist’s office is usually stronger than the kits you’ll use at home.
While professional teeth whitening treatments cost more than at-home kits, don’t forget you’re paying for quality. You’re also benefiting from your dentist’s expertise. Their experience can help you avoid risks.
They’ll also help you recognize which teeth whitening treatment is ideal for your needs.
Some insurance companies make allowances for teeth whitening treatments. If you have private health insurance, check to see if you have any benefits for whitening.
Your dentist might also have their own dental savings plan and specials on this procedure to make it more affordable.
Teeth Whitening at Home
At-home whitening kits are effective as long as you’re disciplined. You’ll need to apply the at-home whitening strips or trays for the recommended length of time, which is usually between two to four weeks. If you’re often too busy to use a kit at home, scheduling an in-chair whitening procedure is likely your better option.
Many people are beginning to purchase blue light whitening kits instead of traditional whitening strips. Using these kits, you’ll need to bite down on a tray to mould them to your teeth beforehand. Then, you use these trays to apply a gel to your teeth. Once the trays are in place, you’ll use a blue LED light to activate the bleaching agent.
You can also get take-home bleaching trays from your dentist, which involve whitening gel. You’ll need to wear the trays approximately 30 minutes a day. In addition to the bleaching trays, you may also need to use whitening pens for the best results.
With the teeth whitening pen, you can apply a hydrogen peroxide gel to your teeth using a small brush.
However, the results when using these at-home options can vary depending on the state of your teeth.
One advantage of an at-home kit is it’s less sensitive to the in-chair whitening treatment. With a take-home kit, you’ll need to use it between three to eight hours a day. Missing days, however, could cause a lag before you see results.
You can speak with your dentist to determine which option is best for the current state of your teeth.
Over-the-Counter DIY Whitening Kits
It’s important to note that there are some dangers associated with DIY teeth-whitening products. For example, many patients are visiting their dentists with chemical burns, severe gum burns, and ulcers as a result of DIY tips they find online.
When bleach comes in contact with your mouth, cheeks, lips, and tongue, it can cause severe ulceration. This damage can take weeks to resolve.
Charcoal products are dangerous as well. Some charcoal products, such as toothpaste and powders, end up doing more harm than good. In fact, researches are now finding that charcoal can erode the protective layer on your teeth.
This could leave your teeth bare, causing abrasion to the enamel that could result in additional damage. You might also notice discolouration of white filling materials.
Activated charcoal will also absorb fluoride within your toothpaste, making it useless for improving the state of your teeth.
Professional whitening at a dentist’s office can cost between $450 and $1,000. Meanwhile, a take-home kit provided by your dentist can cost between $250 and $400.
However, it’s important to note that the products your dentist uses are stronger and contain more hydrogen peroxide than box kits. Your dentist can produce more desirable results.
Keeping Your Teeth White After Treatment
After spending money on a treatment, you’ll want to keep your teeth white. Here are a few tips:
- Cut back on the foods and drinks we mentioned above that cause discolouration
- Drink sugary or acidic drinks using a straw to keep the liquid from damaging your enamel
- Rinse your teeth with water or chew sugar-free gum after consuming enamel-damaging foods and drinks
Lastly, make sure to maintain good oral health practices such as brushing and flossing twice a day.
Smile Brighter with Your Teeth Whitening Guide
Keep your teeth shining white and bright! With this teeth whitening guide, you have tons of options available for keeping your teeth looking at their best.
Ready for whiter teeth? Contact us today to discuss your options!