If you are an older person who looks into the face of your smiling son or daughter you can’t help but notice the radiant smile which shows off white shiny teeth. You turn your face to your mirror next time you’re in the bathroom and see this rather dull, off white colour which is nowhere near the same shade of white as your children’s teeth. As you age, the outer dental enamel wears away slowly and beneath it there lies dentin, which is not a brilliant white colour, but off white. It slowly starts to show through over time. So you see your teeth going through different shades of whiteness over time.
Food and drink may affect your teeth’s colour
It’s not just the eroding of your teeth’s enamel that causes this shade of colour change but also the types of food and drink you consume. If you smoke, tar and nicotine can stain your teeth. These stains are very difficult to remove by simply brushing and flossing. Red wine, coffee and curries may also leave behind an annoying stain. Restoring your teeth to their former glory requires a bit more than religiously brushing and flossing twice a day.
Your dentist may offer a teeth whitening solution
Dentists know how important it is for people to keep a charming, glowing smile that encourages happiness and brings about a higher self-esteem and more confidence. So these days they offer what is called in-office teeth whitening. Your dentist will discuss with you how white you want your teeth to be as there are different shades that can be achieved through in-office teeth whitening methods.
It is possible to achieve up to 9 shades whiter, but generally people are happy with improving the appearance of their teeth by 2 to 3 shades. A change of only two or three shades may make a significant difference to almost anyone’s smile. How white you can keep your teeth depends on how willing you are to give up the products that contribute to your stained teeth.
What happens at an In-Office Teeth Whitening appointment?
Your teeth will be polished using pumice first of all. Your dentist will then prepare your mouth for the teeth whitening solution. Because the product used is either hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, it’s important your dentist protects the rest of your mouth and gums with a barrier, like rolls of gauze. Once this is done your dentist will paint on the whitening solution and sometimes a curing light is used to activate the product.
The process takes between 30 and 60 minutes. When the desired shade has been reached your dentist will ask you to rinse out your mouth and s/he may apply some fluoride which helps to relieve any sensitivity that sometimes occurs with this sort of treatment. Your dentist may ask you to come back for further treatment if the shade you desire has not been quite reached.
How to keep those newly whitened teeth.
You can help to reduce the frequency of visits to the dentist for teeth whitening if you minimise or avoid the following teeth staining products:
- sports drinks;
- hard sweets;
- curried food;
- staining berries;
- tomato sauce;
- tobacco products.
If you can’t give up your favourite beverages, try using a straw, as this help to keep the products from coming into contact with your teeth.
Overall, in-office whitening is a safer way to improve the shade of your teeth and boost your self-esteem and confidence for years to come.