Having a sparkling smile can make you feel more confident, and happy, but getting there isn’t easy. Smoking, drinking tea or coffee, and even eating relatively normal foods can stain your teeth over time, despite how much you brush and floss, so what can you do about it?

Probably you’ve heard of teeth whitening before, maybe even passing a few over the counter products while picking up a new toothbrush, but the difference between these and professional whitening might be lost on you. Despite the fact that teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dental procedures there is, it can still be confusing.

If you’re feeling frustrated and confused, this blog is for you.

Teeth Whitening 101 | Wilmington Dentist

What Causes Stains?

Generally, there are two types of stains: intrinsic, and extrinsic. Intrinsic stains are stains that occur inside the teeth, causing discoloration in the dentin, the layer below our enamel. These stains are much less common, and are caused by certain medications, advanced age, genetics, or tooth trauma. Unfortunately, if you suffer from intrinsic staining, whitening is much less effective, and a better solution would be dental veneers.

Extrinsic staining is much more common. This occurs when our teeth come in contact with staining agents found in tea, coffee, wine, beer, or any number of foods. Because our enamel isn’t flat–it has many natural ridges–a surplus of these staining agents can collect, causing stains.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Most teeth whitening is designed to address extrinsic stains by dissolving staining agents. To do this, dentist use solutions containing substances such as peroxide, to aggressively breaking down stains, and polishing the enamel. Because dentists and dental hygienists are trained in using teeth whitening substances, solutions found in the dental office are much more concentrated than solutions found over the counter. When an in-office treatment is paired with a take-home teeth whitening tray custom-designed to fit your needs, the results can last even longer.

Is Teeth Whitening Right For Me?

Teeth whitening isn’t for everyone. For patients with oral health complications such as gum disease, it’s important to prioritize treatment. The same is true if you’ve lost or chipped a tooth, or if your teeth are crooked. The effectiveness of teeth whitening is limited to the whiteness of your natural teeth, whereas other procedures such as dental veneers can produce more dramatic results.

The best way to determine if teeth whitening is right for you, is by scheduling an appointment. Talking with your dentist about your cosmetic goals can give you a better idea of what to expect.

If you would like to learn whether teeth whitening in Wilmington, NC can help you get a more attractive smile, please call (910) 392-6060 or contact Kuzma Advanced Dentistry today for a cosmetic dentistry appointment with a cosmetic dentist.