Teeth Whitening Serving Cincinnati, OH

How Do Teeth Get Discolored?

Bright teeth give every unforgettable smile their sparkle. To truly understand how to maximize the wattage of your brilliant smile, it’s necessary to go deep — deep below the tooth surface, in fact.

That’s because discolored teeth typically get their dull, yellowish hue from the dentin below your tooth’s protective enamel. When enamel is worn away over the years, either from lifestyle choices, dietary picks or the genetics you inherited, the dentin begins to show through, and it’s not the dazzling white color you prefer.

Types of Teeth Stains

This type of discoloration is called an intrinsic stain. Extrinsic stains, by contrast, are on the tooth surface, and are the type you hear most about in advertising from over-the-counter products. Toothpastes, whitening strips, rinses and retail home whitening kits focus on removing surface stains. Although this approach can slightly whiten your smile, it does nothing to improve the deeper stains below the surface. That’s why you need a professional medical solution, the kind offered at Pearce Dental Group.

While surface stains can be partially treated by various retail products, stains can also be avoided by many of the choices you make. Coffee, tea, red wine, smoking, vividly colored fruits or vegetables and even some curries can stain your teeth. Acids and sugars in food can also wear away the enamel. This includes sodas, vinegar and some juices.

Teeth Whitening Options

Dr. Pearce can guide you in choosing among several effective professional-grade whitening treatments, ranging from in-office procedures to home whitening kits that are ideal for touch-ups. The process starts with creation of a customized tray that will be filled with a special gel that contains high concentrations of either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These ingredients can make your teeth several shades whiter in a short period of time, in some cases less than a hour in the dentist’s chair. Home kits, some of which feature pre-filled mouth trays, allow you to benefit from this technology by wearing your mouth tray overnight over a period of weeks.

Because these whitening products are medical-strength, it is important to have a dentist guiding your treatment. Used inappropriately, the active ingredient can irritate the gums and temporarily boost sensitivity. Dr. Pearce will ensure the gel is precisely targeted, and that your treatment plan is customized to fit your goals and expectations.

Some gel products also contain fluoride, to strengthen teeth, and potassium nitrate, a chemical that provides a powerful defense against tooth and gum sensitivity.

Best Candidates for Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening technology has come a long way, but there are still limits on what it can achieve for certain classes of patients. If you were born with teeth that are naturally thin, the translucent appearance of your most visible teeth will be harder to whiten. If you were prescribed antibiotics at a very young age, or your mother took antibiotics during pregnancy, the resulting tooth stains will be resistant to whitening products. Yellow-looking teeth usually have the best results, while patients typically experience less satisfying outcomes with brown or grayish intrinsic stains.

To learn more about teeth whitening options, schedule an appointment with experienced southwestern Ohio dentist Dr. Troy Pearce by contacting his Cincinnati office today.