It happens all the time. Someone takes an amazing photo of you sharing a laugh with some good friends, and then you notice it… your teeth are yellow.
You already know that having stained teeth can ruin your otherwise-perfect smile, and leave you feeling embarrassed or self-conscious. We all idolize those people that have pearly-white smiles and have an enviable level of confidence.
Whether you’ve just never had those perfectly white teeth or they simply yellowed over time, there are plenty of options for you to brighten up your smile. There are plenty of products available in stores for “do it yourself” methods of teeth whitening. For faster results, you can visit your dentist for professional treatment. Here are some of the options that you have if you are looking to whiten your teeth and regain confidence in your smile.
1. Whitening Toothpaste
While most toothpastes can remove surface stains from your teeth while also cleaning them, whitening toothpastes also polish with additional stain removing benefits. Whitening toothpastes can typically lighten your tooth color by about one shade. If your teeth are not badly stained and you are simply looking for an easy way to brighten your smile a little bit, a switch to whitening toothpaste might be the option for you.
2. Whitening Strips & Gels
Another option is to purchase over-the-counter whitening strips or gels. Whitening strips are thin, invisible plastic strips that are placed over the teeth. These strips are coated with whitening gel, and starts to work in just a few days.
On the other hand, a whitening gel is simply applied to your teeth and rinsed off after a few minutes. Using whitening strips or gel can give you a brighter smile for several months.
3. Tray Whitening
Brightening up your teeth with tray-based tooth whitening is an effective solution. This option can be purchased over-the-counter or from your dentist. This method involves filling a tray with a gel whitening solution. Depending on the degree of discoloration in your teeth and how much you want to whiten your teeth, you can wear the tray for a few hours to a full night of sleep.
4. In-Office Bleaching
If you have severely discolored teeth, you will have to consider a stronger teeth-whitening procedure performed under a dentist’s supervision. Your dentist will recommend a procedure, such as the Zoom Whitening System that we use at New Generation Dentistry. Much like the process of tray whitening, a custom-made tray is fitted to your teeth and filled with a bleaching solution. Since the dentist oversees the entire procedure, the bleaching solution that is used would be stronger and more effective than that of an over-the-counter tray whitening procedure. During the procedure, a light or heat source may also be used to speed up the process.
In-office bleaching is arguably the most effective way to get a whiter smile in a short amount of time. In fact, with the Zoom Teeth Whitening system, your teeth could appear up to 8 shades whiter in just 45 minutes. With the supervision of a dental professional, this process is also the more safe, reliable, and hassle-free option when compared to at-home procedures.
Prevention & Maintenance
The most important part of teeth whitening is maintaining your teeth. This can be accomplished with regular dental care, such as brushing, flossing, and routine visits to the dentist. Unfortunately, there are also many (delicious) drinks and food that may stain teeth. Here’s a list of items to avoid or consume with caution:
- Tea and coffee: Although these two drinks can be chock full of antioxidants, energizing caffeine, and more, they’re also major culprits for teeth staining. They both contain tannins, naturally occurring substances that make it easier for stains to stick to teeth.
- Red Wine: Red wine is extremely pigmented and slightly acidic. Drinking too much could damage the enamel and make teeth more susceptible to stains.
- Balsamic Vinegar: While balsamic vinegar adds incredible flavor, it’s also extremely dark and it can easily stain teeth.
- Citrus foods: Citric foods such as tomatoes, strawberries, and raspberries are highly acidic, so they can erode the enamel. Be especially wary of bright colored citric foods.
- Fruit Juice: Similarly, fruit juice like cranberry juice is acidic, sugary, and bright. Anything that can stain your carpet can probably stain your teeth as well.
- Beets: The bright pigmentation in beets may be beautiful in your salad, but definitely not on your teeth!
- Curry: This bright orange/yellow dish can stain your teeth if you’re not careful.
Our Mission Viejo dentist, Dr. Sasha, recommends using a reusable straw when drinking anything that isn’t water because sugar and acid can damage and stain your teeth. If possible, brush your teeth after meals with any of these foods or drinks. Chewing sugar-free gum can stimulate saliva and flush out unwanted plaque acid.
Talk to your dentist about which option is best for you. Our team of dentists in Mission Viejo can recommend the best teeth whitening method for you. If you choose in-office bleaching, we are currently offering the Zoom Whitening System for just $249. Book an appointment today at our dental office in Mission Viejo.
At New Generation Dentistry, we are committed to helping you achieve confidence in your smile. Our team of dentists in Mission Viejo provides all your dental needs, whether you are looking for a general or pediatric dentist, or a cosmetic dentist.
Updated for 2018.