Many things in life get better with age, but unfortunately, our teeth are not one of those things. They’re prone to shifting and discoloration as we get older, leaving previously straight, white smiles looking decidedly crooked and yellowed over the years. Although yellowing and staining of the teeth are common effects of aging, we don’t have to live with them! Here at Boger Dental, we offer laser whitening to brighten your teeth, and there are several precautions that you can take at home to prevent and even reverse staining. 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 enamel layer 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 naturally darker teeth. Aside from age, hereditary factors, and certain kinds of medication, our lifestyle choices 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 can you lessen the effects of yellowing and staining from home?
There are some very simple measures you can take to combat staining and achieve a shinier smile! The most obvious of these is maintaining your dental hygiene. That means thoroughly 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 your teeth, as plaque can attract new stains and augment existing ones.
How you consume foods and drinks that contribute to staining can also make a difference. Use a straw to drink cold tea or soda, and avoid slowly sipping on coffee and hot beverages over a long period of time to minimize the contact they make with your teeth. Another simple way to prevent stains is to flush 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. Boger or our other wonderful dentists will not only get rid of staining that regular brushing and flossing can’t touch, but will also give us the chance to look for any other dental problems like tooth decay, gum disease, dry mouth, and more.
Laser whitening options for a sensational smile
Boger Dental is proud to offer laser whitening treatments to patients in Plymouth 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, we use an instrument to help you keep your mouth open. Not only is this more comfortable than asking you to hold your mouth open for an extended period, but it also makes it harder for saliva to reach your teeth. Saliva can react with the whitening solution and prevent it from working as effectively, so this is an important step!
Step 2—A barrier, usually a gel that hardens into a protective casing, will be placed over your gums to protect them. 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, our dentists can begin applying the whitening solution to the front of your teeth using an oral syringe or similar device. Once it has been evenly applied, he will use a handheld laser to activate the solution. You’ll feel it begin to foam as it heats up.
Step 4—After letting the solution sit and work its magic for a couple of minutes, we 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 largely 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! 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 our team know if you have any questions or concerns.
Stop staining in its tracks with laser whitening from Boger Dental
If yellow or stained teeth are holding you back from your happiest smile, we invite you to explore all the benefits that 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 anything else, we’re here to help restore your teeth to their natural brilliance! Get in touch today to schedule a consultation with our expert team.