Many of us feel some anxiety about the brightness of our smiles. Aging, trauma, and even too much coffee can reduce the shine of our teeth over time. Thankfully, there are several easy and gentle methods to return your teeth to their original luster.
If you’ve never explored the options available for whitening your teeth, Dr. Lordo’s staff can help you determine which method will work best for you. And to start, it’s a good idea to know what those options are.
What Causes Teeth to Lose Their Brightness?
Although the surfaces of our teeth may appear smooth, if you look at them under a microscope you can see numerous tiny pores. Over time, these pores can pick up stains or become rough, which affects the way light reflects off of them (causing them to eventually lose that pearlescent sheen).
Some of the worst culprits that can stain our teeth include:
- Red wine
- Tooth trauma
- Certain spicy and/or acidic foods
As teeth lose their shine, there are typically three options for whitening them, each with its advantages and disadvantages. These include over-the-counter products, take-home whitening kits provided by your dentist, and in-office whitening procedures.
Over-the-Counter Whitening Products
Your corner drug store probably has a shelf devoted to at-home whitening agents, packaged as whitening strips, bleaching gels and trays, and other delivery methods. These are typically the least expensive option for teeth whitening, but they are also the weakest form of treatment, and are not catered to your specific needs. These products typically take between one and two weeks to complete.
- Do-it-yourself, easy to acquire
- Improvements to your teeth color can last about four months
- Drugstore treatments aren’t as effective as other methods
- They are the least-permanent form of teeth whitening
- If applied incorrectly, over-the-counter products can burn or abrade gums
A step above drugstore whitening options is a take-home brightening kit that your dentist can provide. You will still need to apply these treatments yourself, but a take-home kit supplied by your dentist will be significantly stronger, and will be chosen based on your individual whitening needs.
- Convenience accommodating your schedule
- Stronger than OTC options
- No lab time necessary
- Can include a fluoride additive that guards against cavities
- May take up to 20 days to complete
- Must be applied thoroughly to ensure brightening is even across your teeth
- Not as strong as in-office procedures
The most-recommended form of teeth brightening takes place at the dentist’s office. In only a few hours or less, dental professionals assess the best product for your teeth, thoroughly clean their surfaces, and apply a whitening agent thoroughly and evenly to the surfaces of your teeth. Your dentist can also assess the procedure’s effectiveness at a follow-up appointment.
- Longest-lasting method, up to 12 months
- Selected and administered by dental professionals
- Offers the most significant change in appearance
- May be more expensive, or not covered under dental insurance
- In-office whitening can cause temporary sensitivity to gums
How We Can Help
At Dr. Lordo’s office, our staff will go over your dental history, budget, and your brightening goals to help customize a treatment to get your smile looking its best. With a brighter smile, you’ll be well on your way to boosting your self-confidence in any situation.