Are you unhappy with stains your teeth have acquired over time? If so, then teeth whitening can help whiten your teeth. Whether your teeth have become discolored as a result of coffee or chocolate, berries or red wine, we can help return it to a whiter, more youthful shade. This won’t just make your smile more attractive, it will make your smile look healthier, and make it easier to spot cavities and other damage.
At Harriman Family Dental, we know the appearance of your smile matters, and we offer several different options for teeth whitening. To learn which option is the best for you, please call
Why Teeth Get Stained
Tooth staining is a common consequence of aging, and, well, eating. There are many common foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, including:
- Sports drinks
- Red wine
- Dark beers
If you eat a lot of particular kind of staining food, your teeth might become the color of that food, but typically staining comes from many sources and your teeth turn a nondescript brown color.
Another common habit that stains teeth is tobacco use, including chewing tobacco and smoking cigarettes and cigars.
Stains can even be partly caused by foods and drinks you might think incapable of staining, such as:
- White wine
- Lemon-lime sodas
- Lemon water
- Green tea
Wine is very acidic, and whether the wine is white or red, this acid softens your tooth enamel and allows stain molecules to enter. The same is true for lemon-lime sodas and lemon water. Frequently consuming these foods can make your teeth stain more quickly. Green tea is the same plant as black tea. Black tea is just aged and oxidized, so when molecules from green tea get trapped in your teeth, they can discolor over time.
How Teeth Whitening Removes Stains
Teeth whitening is a chemical method of removing stains. We use a chemical that will break down the staining compounds trapped in your teeth, typically a form of peroxide. Applying this to your teeth will remove the stains.
We offer two different approaches to whiten your teeth. First, we offer ZOOM! teeth whitening. ZOOM! teeth whitening is designed to whiten your teeth dramatically in less than an hour. In this approach, we first put a protective cover over your gums, then we paint the whitening compound–a very strong peroxide formula–onto your teeth. Then we apply a catalyst light to your teeth. This helps the whitening compound remove more stain molecules. After 15 minutes, the compound is largely depleted, so we remove it and apply fresh whitener. We repeat this three times. ZOOM! teeth whitening works great if you are looking to significantly whiten your teeth over a very short time frame.
But if you want your teeth to be as white as they can be, or if you want to maintain your results perpetually, then you should consider at-home teeth whitening. We will make you some custom whitening trays, and give you a supply of very strong whitening compound. Before bed, you will add some of the whitener to the tray and put it in while you sleep. Over several weeks, your teeth will gradually whiten, eventually getting as white as your enamel allows.
Advantages of Professional Teeth Whitening vs. Over-the-Counter
These days, you can get teeth whitening kits at any corner store. And the truth is that they all work, to some degree. But there are many reasons why professional teeth whitening is better.
First, you can know teeth whitening will work. During your consultation with a cosmetic dentist, you can find out if your teeth are stained or if they’re discolored for some other reason. This means that you won’t start teeth whitening and only find out later that you have been wasting your time (and money).
Second, you can make sure teeth are healthy. Unhealthy teeth may not respond to whitening, and, the effects may even be painful and destructive. It’s always good to get a dental checkup before you get teeth whitening, whether you’re doing it yourself or through the dentist’s office.
Stronger whitening compounds used by dentists work faster and better. The concentration of whiteners used in over-the-counter products is diluted for safety because you will be performing whitening unsupervised. Dentists can use much stronger compounds that can be more effective.
Your dentist can also adjust your whitening formula to avoid sensitivity. Teeth whitening can open up tubules in your teeth that pass through the dentin into the pulp of the teeth. This can occur with over-the-counter whiteners as well as dentist-strength whiteners. But your dentist can alter the whitening formula to help reduce sensitivity.
Finally, your dentist can monitor your teeth for problems. It is possible to overwhiten your teeth. Your dentist will be able to determine if you are overusing whitening products and advise you to cut back before you suffer serious damage to your teeth.
For all these reasons, it’s best to work with a professional for teeth whitening.
When Whitening Doesn’t Work
Teeth whitening is very effective at removing stains from the surface of your teeth, but often teeth are discolored from within. This can be caused by:
- Thin enamel that allows dark-colored dentin to show through
- Tooth trauma that has caused “bruising” or other injury to the tooth pulp
- Deep stains due to tetracycline antibiotics
- Discoloration related to enamel defects or damage
When these cause discoloration of your teeth, we can’t whiten them. We have to cover them with a cosmetic restoration like porcelain veneers or dental crowns. In the case of tooth trauma, we may have to perform root canal therapy if the tooth trauma has caused the pulp in the tooth to die.
Get Your Whiter Smile
Are you ready to enjoy a whiter, brighter smile in Harriman? If so, then call (845) 783-6466 or email us today for an appointment at Harriman Family Dental to learn whether teeth whitening can help you.