The start of a new school year is the perfect time to invest in a brighter, whiter smile. Even with good oral hygiene habits and a relatively healthy diet, your teeth are still vulnerable to stains and discoloration and wear and tear over time. Over-the-counter products like whitening toothpaste and strips can make a small difference, but professional teeth whitening treatments are the best option available to significantly improve your smile.
The most common source of dental stains are drinks and foods like coffee, tea, red wine, sauces and dark berries. Surface stains are known as extrinsic stains, and can be treated with professional teeth whitening treatments by a dentist. Smoking is another common cause of extrinsic dental stains and can also increase your risk of developing gum disease and other oral and general health problems.
Your teeth can also stain from the inside out. Known as intrinsic stains, this type of stain affects the dentin layer and typically results from trauma or as a side effect to certain types of medication.
Professional teeth whitening treatments are the most effective way to achieve significant and lasting results. There are two options for professional teeth whitening for extrinsic dental stains -- in-office and take-home whitening treatments. An in-office treatment can deliver instant results and lighten teeth anywhere from two to eight shades in an hour appointment. A take home whitening kit allows you to apply the treatment at home over a period of several weeks, delivering results over time.
Whitening treatments are generally not effective on stains that develop from damage to the dentin layer. If you have intrinsic dental stains, your dentist may recommend porcelain veneers or cosmetic bonding as an alternative to brighten your smile.
How to Keep Your Teeth Looking Whiter After Treatment
The first step is to keep up a good oral hygiene routine, including regular visits to the dentist for a dental exam and cleaning (the American Dental Association recommends at least once a year). If you smoke, quitting is the only way to keep your teeth stain free and healthy. Limiting food and drinks that are known to stain your teeth will also go a long way toward a whiter smile year round.
For more information, contact our office by calling (931) 526-5460 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hintz or Dr. Oakley today.
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