Teeth Whitening 101

A cosmetic dentist focuses on beautifying your smile. Many people are self-conscious about the whiteness of their teeth. A glowing, white set of teeth can really contribute to the appeal of your smile. However, many people feel that their teeth could be brighter. This is why teeth whitening is one of the most popular procedures offered by a cosmetic dentist.

Teeth whitening helps to brighten the teeth while removing stains and improving overall appearance. Our experts at the Bethesda Center for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Bethesda, Maryland love helping people regain their confidence. By helping patients reach their desired smile shade we aren’t just brightening their smile. The confidence that comes with a great smile also puts a bounce in their step and a twinkle in their eye.

When to See a Cosmetic Dentist for Teeth Whitening

Over time our teeth are subject to all kinds of issues that reduce their brilliance. Even patients who’ve practiced superior oral hygiene aren’t exempt from darkening teeth. If you’re feeling like your smile isn’t as bright as you’d like then you may want to ask about teeth whitening. Several factors contribute to a dull smile. Age greatly contributes to the luster of your smile, but is unavoidable.

As time marches on, teeth slowly become darker and more dingy. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable as it is a natural process that occurs. The translucency of the outer layer of your teeth becomes more distinct as you age. This tends to be the most noticeable on the thinner front teeth. This is because these teeth naturally have less pigment. Some people genetically have a naturally darker tooth color. This can vary from shades of yellow or brown to shades of gray. This natural hue becomes more noticeable as the years pass. Depending on the natural hue of your teeth, you may respond better to whitening. Your cosmetic dentist will be able to advise you on which approach will be most effective for you.

There are also other factors that contribute to the darkening of your teeth. When speaking to your cosmetic dentist about teeth whitening they may ask questions about your lifestyle choices. This could include your oral hygiene habits as well as your eating habits. If you have poor oral hygiene then your teeth may be noticeably darker. Regularly eating and drinking staining foods and beverages can also contribute to discoloration. Red wine, coffee, tea, dark soda, all can easily stain teeth. Acidic foods such as citrus fruit and vinegar also can cause teeth to darken by eroding your enamel. Other lifestyle choices such as smoking also contribute to a duller smile.

Asking Your Cosmetic Dentist if You Are a Candidate for Teeth Whitening

No matter what reason behind your dull smile, you will want to discuss teeth whitening with your cosmetic dentist. The first thing that they will do is determine if you are a candidate for teeth whitening. There are certain cases where your cosmetic dentist may advise you are not a good candidate. These typically include people who hypersensitive teeth and gum tissue. Also, people who suffer from extreme teeth grinding as well as those who have damage and decay in their mouth are not candidates. If you have cavities they would need to be repaired. Exposed tooth roots along with mouth ulcers also knock you out of the running to have your teeth whitened. Pregnant women or mothers who are breastfeeding are generally discouraged from having their teeth whitened as well.

Your cosmetic dentist will have more information about what teeth whitening techniques are going to be effective for your situation. There are some circumstances where teeth whitening can be more difficult. If you’ve had a root canal then you may notice the root canal tooth becomes darker than the surrounding teeth. A special tooth whitening technique can be used in these cases.

It’s important to be upfront and honest when speaking with your cosmetic dentist about whitening your teeth. Answer all of their questions sincerely so that they are able to provide you with the best possible service. If they do advise that you are not a candidate for teeth whitening then ask them about other options that can help brighten your smile.

Maintenance after Teeth Whitening

It’s important to understand that whitening your teeth isn’t just a onetime procedure but a process. It may take several visits for your cosmetic dentist to get your teeth to the shade that you’re looking for. Your cosmetic dentist may give you an idea of how many treatments this will take, however, everyone responds differently. Therefore, it could take fewer or more treatments to get to the level of brightness you prefer.

Once you have reached the brightness level you aimed for then it is important to properly care for your teeth. Proper care will help keep your teeth brighter, longer. You can prolong the effects of teeth whitening by avoiding smoking and avoiding staining foods and drinks. If you just can’t stay away from your daily cup of coffee, then try drinking it through a straw. A straw will help keep the staining liquid off of your brightly whitened teeth. Continuing to practice good oral hygiene is also important when it comes to keeping your smile bright and happy. Brush, floss, and use mouthwash regularly. Staying on top of your regular dental checkups will also be beneficial. This allows your dentist to catch any potential problems before they have a bigger impact on your gorgeous smile.

If you have any questions about tooth whitening, speak with our cosmetic dentist at the Bethesda Center for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Bethesda, Maryland at (301) 530-3600.