For many people, a brighter smile is an instant source of confidence. After all, that perfect smile can help you make a great first impression, whether meeting someone for a date or attending a job interview. We understand, and offer professional teeth whitening options for our patients in Dallas and Richardson, TX. In today’s blog, we’re going to talk about the difference between our in-office and at-home teeth whitening systems, and discuss how you can help your smile stay brighter for months to come with routine preventive care!

Why Do Our Teeth Become Stained?

First, you should understand that there are two different types of tooth stain. The most common is extrinsic, which forms on the surface of your teeth. These can be caused by the foods and drinks we consume. For example, when we eat foods high in sugar and starch or drink beverages with lots of sugar, this provides particles for bacteria to break down. As bacteria consumes these bits of sugar and starch, the teeth become coated with plaque. Not only does plaque lead to a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease, but teeth stains become more visible. Other factors include smoking and tobacco use or the consumption of drinks with dark pigments, such as coffee, red wine, fruit juice, tea, and soda.

The other type is intrinsic, meaning the discoloration forms beneath the outer tooth enamel. These may be caused by injury to the teeth, which allows blood to enter the porous sections of the inner dentin, creating visible discoloration. Intrinsic stains may occur as a result of tetracycline use at a young age, or fluorosis. These may be more difficult to remove with teeth whitening, but worry not, we have options for masking these and offering patients a brighter smile!

In-Office Teeth Whitening

Our in-office procedure addresses minor and severe extrinsic teeth stains. We begin by placing a protective covering over the lips and gums. Next, we apply a powerful bleaching gel to the teeth and use a light to activate the gel, breaking up teeth stains. We repeat the process as needed to remove stains and in some cases, brighten smiles by multiple shades. The entire process only takes about one to two hours to complete, making this an excellent option for those in need of a brighter smile fast. We can also discuss positive changes to your daily routine to help ensure your new results last as long as possible.

Whitening At Home

We also have an option you can use from the comfort of your own home. Our at-home system not only addresses minor and severe extrinsic stains, but could also remove minor intrinsic discoloration for some patients. Treatment involves the creation of a custom-made set of plastic trays in our office. We then send you home with the trays and prescribe the special bleaching gel. At home, you will fill the trays with the gel and wear them daily, usually for about 30 to 45 minutes per day. Optimal results tend to take between a week and ten days, depending on the severity of your discoloration. The trays helps spread the gel across the teeth, ensuring even results. This option not only brightens teeth by multiple shades, but can also reduce the risk of tooth sensitivity afterward.

Masking Permanent Teeth Stains

What if you have serious intrinsic stains, and traditional cosmetic solutions may not be enough to address them? In these situations, we have two options available: dental bonding and porcelain veneers. With dental bonding, we coat the teeth in a composite resin, the same material we use in our tooth-colored dental fillings. We then cure the material and shape the tooth. Since we can shade the material to better match the color of surrounding teeth, the bonding masks the stains. For a more lifelike option, and one that also addresses issues with a tooth’s surface and overall shape, we may recommend a veneer. A thin shell of porcelain, this can be shaded to match your tooth and blend with your smile. Porcelain also mimics the translucent nature of tooth enamel and is stain-resistant. For some, we may combine these options for a cost-effective smile makeover. We can help brighten stains, whether intrinsic or extrinsic!

Keeping Your Smile Bright

What steps can one take to protect their smile from further stains? Well, taking time to brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes, and flossing at night, can help reduce the severity of plaque buildup. We do suggest choosing a toothpaste with fluoride and ignoring toothpastes that boast about their whitening capabilities. These may contain abrasive agents that could inadvertently damage your enamel. Also, choose a toothbrush with soft bristles for the same reason.

Try to cut back on drinks with dark pigments, or at least chase them with water to cleanse away stray food particles. You should do the same when you consume sugary foods and drinks. Make time to see us for dental cleanings twice a year. A cleaning removes all plaque buildup, which not only safeguards your smile’s health, but also reduces the severity of teeth stains. If you used our at-home system, then you can keep your trays and any remaining gel for touch-ups own the road, keeping your smile bright. Routine care helps keep the smile brighter for longer, and also protects teeth from common oral health concerns, such as tooth decay, gingivitis, and gum disease. If you have any questions about either of our teeth brightening options, or if you have stained teeth, then contact our team today.

Do You Have Dental Discoloration?

If you have stains on your teeth and would like to see professional-level results, then talk to our team and find out which option is best for you. We have a number of choices to remove or mask stains, and help you enjoy a smile you can be proud to show the world. For more information on masking discoloration with restorations or removing teeth stains with teeth whitening, then schedule a consultation by calling the Viva Dental Family Dentistry office nearest you at (214) 337-7800 (Dallas) or (972) 437-6000 (Richardson).