“Can you help me get whiter teeth?” That’s one of the most common requests that dentists receive from current and prospective patients. Just how common? One study by the American Association of Orthodontists found that almost 90% of their patients requested help getting whiter teeth. Orthodontists! That’s not even mentioning the number of family and cosmetic dentists who field the same requests for teeth whitening near you.
Why do so many people want whiter teeth? There are a couple of main reasons for that. First, the condition and color of teeth are one of the most significant factors in determining someone’s attractiveness, youthfulness and health — and looking attractive, young and healthy is a significant priority for lots of people. Second, teeth are easily stained and discolored despite even the best daily dental hygiene habits.
Why are your teeth changing color?
There are five main causes of stained and discolored teeth. Foods and drinks with strong color pigments can stain your teeth, especially if those pigments are allowed to linger and accumulate on your teeth but even if you brush and floss regularly. Some of the foods and drinks most likely to stain your teeth include favourites like coffee, tea, red wine and colas.
Smoking produces tar, a dark substance that stains teeth. It also produces nicotine. Nicotine is colorless until combined with oxygen. The combination of nicotine and oxygen produces a yellow substance that can quickly stain teeth.
The outer layer of your teeth is called enamel. Underneath your enamel is another softer and yellowish layer called dentin. As you age and wear away more and more enamel while brushing your teeth (sometimes too hard), that yellowish dentin layer becomes more and more visible. If you sustain trauma to your teeth in motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents, assaults or athletic collisions, your teeth respond by producing more and more dentin. That trauma-related production of dentin can also change the color of your teeth.
Changes to the color of your teeth can also be a side effect of several common medical treatments, including high blood pressure medication, antipsychotics and antihistamines. Darker teeth are also common side effects of chemotherapy treatment and receiving radiation around your neck and head. Even antibiotics taken as a child and while your teeth are still developing can produce discolored later in life.
How does professional teeth whitening work?
While performing teeth whitening in Palm Beach Gardens, dentists apply bleaching compounds containing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to your stained and discoloured teeth, then expose your teeth to special lights to accelerate the breaking up of stains and the whitening effect of the bleaching compounds. The bleaching compounds used by a dentist near you are available in some over-the-counter products available at drug stores and grocery stores, but in far weaker concentrations.
Because a dentist in Palm Beach Gardens uses far stronger bleaching compounds with specialized tools and the ability to target specific stains with adjustments as required, whitening by a dentist produces far more dramatic results much faster than any results you might achieve with whitening toothpastes or strips from the grocery store. A dentist can whiten your teeth by half a dozen shades or more in a single appointment.
You can get all the benefits of professional teeth whitening in the comfort of your own home, as well. After reviewing the health and condition of your teeth and the causes of your stains and discolorations, your dentist can provide trays and bleaching compounds for you to use at home. The results will not be as quick as you could achieve in a dentist’s office, but will be much more effective than using any DIY over-the-counter kit.
If you’re one of the many people interested in getting whiter teeth to look more attractive, younger and healthier, ask your dentist to help you to get rid of the stains on your teeth.