Fix Stained Teeth
Whether you are a coffee fanatic or you have experienced trauma to your mouth, your teeth may not be as white as you would like. Even dark pigmented foods, wines, medications, genetics, aging, and tobacco use can change the color of your teeth from white to not-so-white. When you decide it is time to change the look of your smile, talk to the dentist about your whitening options. Depending on the amount of change you want, the dentist can help you find the best way to lighten your teeth safely.
While most toothpastes contain ingredients to abrade stains from the surface of your teeth, whitening toothpastes include a polishing agent to increase their efficacy. Over time and with repeated use, whitening toothpastes can potentially remove stains from your teeth up to a few shades. Whitening toothpastes are not effective to improve all stained teeth as some causes are not superficial.
You can usually buy a kit of strips to apply or a brush-applied gel over the counter and use these one or two times a day for about two weeks, depending on the product. These strips use a peroxide based bleaching agent to address mild stains on your teeth.
At-home bleaching trays
A step up from whitening strips, bleaching trays can address mild to moderate tooth stains. You add a peroxide based bleaching paste or gel to plastic tray and keep the tray in your mouth for a specified amount of time each day over the course of a month. The tray holds the bleach in place against your teeth and can be purchased over the counter. More powerful custom trays obtained through the dentist can address more serious stains. The custom trays also hold the gel in place better than the generic trays and prevent any gel from affecting your gums.
In-office bleaching trays
Instead of going to the dentist for an at home bleaching kit, you can make an appointment for an in-office treatment. These gels and pastes are even stronger and the dentist may combine them with heat, light or both to increase the efficacy. The intense whitening treatment will result in a change of tooth color from three to eight shades, depending on the number of in-office treatments. In the case of Zoom, the dentist uses an ultraviolet light to intensify the effects of the gel for a rapid whitening in-office treatment.
When the cause of your tooth staining is aging or genetics, the dentist may recommend a more serious treatment. These causes often do not respond to the other treatment options so the dentist can offer porcelain veneers to change the appearance of the stained teeth. The veneers are adhered to the surface of your teeth to give you a white, natural smile.
It is important to talk to the dentist before using any of these options to address your stained teeth. Some “natural” alternatives that include strawberry, lemon and baking soda can compromise your tooth’s enamel and result in decreasing the hardness of your teeth.
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