One day, you look in the mirror and your pearly whites aren’t so pearly or white anymore. Despite diligent brushing and flossing, fluoride treatments, and healthy habits, your teeth are showing signs of age and have a dull yellow tinge. The discoloration may be a normal part of aging but is exacerbated by smoking or chewing tobacco or by consuming coffee, tea, red wine or cola – all of which can stain your teeth further.
At the first sign of yellowed teeth, most people head to the neighborhood pharmacy for a whitening toothpaste and/or a home whitening kit. However, a whitening toothpaste is really designed for the upkeep of professionally whitened teeth and will have very little effect on teeth that are stained. Home whitening kits are one-size-fits-all which — as you know from clothes shopping — generally means they don’t fit anyone. The whitening trays can slip and slide, allowing the bleaching solution to contact and irritate the gums.
A more serious side effect of trying to whiten teeth yourself is that you can permanently damage the enamel and dentin, weakening your teeth and making them more susceptible to disease and decay. Once the enamel and dentin are gone, they cannot be replaced.
It’s distressing for a dentist to encounter teeth that have been damaged by excessive over-the-counter whitening kits because we know that proper whitening is much more effective and will never harm your teeth. We’ve even coined a term for those who’ve overused home bleaching kits so much that they’ve turned their teeth to mush: “bleachorexia.”
A much safer way to rejuvenate your yellowed teeth is to have them professionally whitened at your dentist’s office. Our whitening systems can lighten your teeth by up to eight shades, whereas the home kits can only offer two shades of difference.
We offer in-office whitening that can be accomplished in just one hour. The treatment can be done as part of a regular checkup or scheduled at another time. Whitening can become part of your oral health routine, performed at annual or biannual office visits. This treatment is also a great way to add extra pizzazz when preparing for a special event such as a wedding or graduation.
We can also create custom whitening trays that are made to fit snugly on your teeth so that the bleaching agent doesn’t leak onto your gums or mouth. These will be used with a brightening agent that we provide you, to be worn for a couple of hours a night for a week or more until the perfect shade of white is reached. The trays can be reused for maintenance treatment. The entire system is also portable.
Think your teeth are too badly stained to respond to a whitening treatment? Let Dr. Aurasteh evaluate your smile. A whitening treatment is preferable to having a cosmetic procedure, such as veneers or laminates and, in most cases, should be your first step. If your teeth truly are too damaged for whitening, the good news is that veneers can restore your smile and will also resist stains, so you won’t have to worry about them becoming discolored again.
If you’ve noticed age or habit-related yellowing or discoloration of your teeth, don’t wait til they’re stained beyond redemption or overuse over-the-counter treatments til you have “bleachorexia.” Ask Dr. Aurasteh for help restoring your bright smile with in-office or at-home teeth whitening services. Call Oral Care Dentistry at 310-974-6779 or use our email form.