There are a lot of things in life that improve with age, but unfortunately our teeth aren’t one of them. They’re prone to shifting as we get older, leaving previously straight smiles looking decidedly crooked, and also tend to show more discoloration over the years. Although yellowing and staining of the teeth are common effects of aging, we don’t have to accept them as inevitable! Here at Accent Smile Center, we offer laser whitening to brighten your teeth, and there are things you can do at home to prevent staining, too. Let’s take a look at what causes discolored teeth and what you can do about it!
What causes yellowing or staining of the teeth?
As we get older, the porous layer of enamel on our teeth begins to thin. This allows the naturally yellow material beneath it, called dentin, to show through more clearly. The thinner your enamel, the more dentin shows through, giving your teeth a yellow tint. Enamel is also naturally porous, and as we age, the microscopic holes within it get larger. This leaves the teeth even more susceptible to staining.
Genetics can play a role in how white our teeth look, too. Some people are born with tooth enamel that is brighter or thicker than others, while others have a thinner layer of enamel or teeth that are naturally darker. Aside from age, hereditary factors, and certain kinds of medication, our lifestyle choices can play a role in yellowing and staining our teeth. For example, smoking is a primary contributor to tooth staining. Regularly drinking coffee, black tea, wine, and soda can also cause even healthy teeth to become discolored over time.
How you can lessen the effects of yellowing and staining from home
There are some very simple things you can do to combat staining and give you a shinier smile! The most obvious of these is maintaining good dental hygiene. That means brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time, and flossing every night before bed. This will help remove any plaque build-up around the edges of the teeth, as these can attract stains and make them more noticeable.
How you consume foods and drinks that contribute to staining can also make a difference. Use a straw when drinking cold tea or soda, and avoid sipping on coffee and hot tea over a long period of time to minimize the contact it has with your teeth. Another easy way to prevent stains is to rinse your mouth out with water after consuming any acidic or highly-pigmented foods, like soy sauce, blueberries, and beets.
Regular dental visits are an essential part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy, clean, and looking as good as they feel! Professional cleanings with Dr. Gatgens will not only get rid of staining that regular brushing and flossing can’t touch, but also give us the chance to look for any dental problems like tooth decay, gum disease, dry mouth, and more.
Laser whitening options for a sensational smile
Accent Smile Center is proud to offer laser whitening treatments to patients in Dickson and the surrounding communities. This method is quick, effective, and produces beautiful results that last! While every dentist will have their own process for performing laser whitening treatment, you can expect the procedure to be similar to the one we’ve outlined below.
Step 1—After cleaning your teeth, Dr. Gatgens will use an instrument to hold your mouth open. Not only is this more comfortable than asking you to hold your mouth open for an extended period of time, it also makes it harder for saliva to reach your teeth. Saliva can counteract with the whitening solution and prevent it from working as effectively, so this is an important step!
Step 2—A barrier will be placed over your gums to protect them, usually a gel that hardens into a protective casing. We do this because the whitening solution can irritate sensitive gum tissues, and we want to ensure treatment is as comfortable as possible.
Step 3—With the mouthpiece and gum barrier in place, Dr. Gatgens can begin applying the whitening solution to the front of your teeth using a syringe or similar device. Once it has been evenly applied, he will use the pen-like laser to activate the solution. You’ll feel it begin to foam as it heats up.
Step 4—After letting the solution sit for a couple of minutes, Dr. Gatgens will clean it off using a small vacuum-like instrument. And that’s all there is to it!
This treatment process can be repeated up to 3 separate times. You’ll be provided with a list of post-treatment steps before you leave. Depending on the severity of your discoloration, we may schedule you for another teeth whitening appointment at this time.
It’s important to remember that the success of any teeth whitening procedure will depend on the genetic makeup of your teeth. For the best results, you only want to whiten teeth back to their natural shade. That shade won’t always be bright white! In fact, most people will find their natural teeth are an off-white color, and that’s entirely normal. Be realistic about your expectations, and be sure to let Dr. Gatgens know if you have any questions or concerns.
Stop staining in its tracks with laser whitening from Accent Smile Center
If yellow or stained teeth are holding you back from your happiest smile, we invite you to explore all the benefits professional tooth whitening has to offer! Our laser whitening procedure will give you safer, better, and longer-lasting results than at-home treatments. Whether your smile is discolored from genetics, aging, or any number of lifestyle choices, we’re here to help restore your teeth to their natural brilliance! Get in touch today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gatgens.