If you wish you could wave a magic wand and transform your teeth from stained to stellar, you are not alone. Studies show that 4 out of 5 American adults long for whiter teeth. This makes teeth whitening the most commonly sought dental treatment in America. With demand for whiter teeth growing by the day, Cincinnati’s top cosmetic dentists are offering an impressive portfolio of treatment options to transform stained teeth. Below is a look at the most common teeth whitening treatments and how they can help you regain confidence in your smile.
When did the demand for whiter teeth emerge?
People have been trying to whiten their teeth since 3000 B.C. Unfortunately, many of the techniques used in ancient times were unsafe and ended up damaging the tooth’s surface. Dr. Scott Swank, Dentist and Curator for the National Museum of Dentistry, describes how and when the trend for whiter teeth began:
“The Greeks had formulations and at the beginning of the Renaissance, Europeans were certainly putting compounds on their teeth in a conscious effort to whiten them. Unfortunately, those compounds were essentially the equivalent of today’s Clorox…It ate the enamel away. They had whiter teeth for a while, but then they started to see severe decay.”
– Dr. Scott Swank, Dentist and Curator for the National Museum of Dentistry
Today, the demand for whiter teeth is greater than ever. Nearly one in three Americans voice that a person’s smile is the first feature they notice when meeting a person. As a result, today’s treatments are safer and more sophisticated than the techniques used centuries ago.
What are some of the leading causes of stained teeth?
There are many reasons why a person’s teeth can become stained. Sometimes there is a single cause that is easy to pinpoint. But in other cases, several factors combine to gradually turn teeth from a brilliant white to a dull yellow or gray color. Here are some of the top culprits that can lead to staining:
- Dietary choices: The food and drinks you consume can cause your teeth to become stained. Coffee, red wine, tea, and tomato sauces are some examples of products that can stain your teeth.
- Tobacco use: According to the American Dental Association (ADA)is, tobacco products are a top cause of stained teeth. Smoking cigarettes and using chewing tobacco can result in dull yellow teeth.
- Illness: Certain childhood diseases and illnesses can result in stained teeth.
- Poor dental care: Poor oral hygiene is another major factor that contributes to tooth staining. If you do not brush, floss, and visit your dentist regularly, your teeth will be more apt to stain.
- Age: The enamel on your teeth tends to become thinner with age, making your teeth more susceptible to staining. Harsh bleaching treatments can also cause enamel to erode.
- Medications: Sometimes the medications people take can cause their teeth to become gray or yellow. Examples include chemotherapy taken for cancer and tetracycline-family medications taken to treat infections.
What are some dental treatments used to whiten stained teeth?
There are more treatments than ever for people who want whiter teeth. In fact, there are so many professional and over-the-counter treatments available that the options can be a bit overwhelming. The best way to evaluate these options is to visit a dentist with a proven track record in teeth whitening and cosmetic dentistry.
An accomplished cosmetic dentist will examine your teeth and gums to determine which teeth whitening treatment would be the most effective for you. Once your dentist confirms that your teeth are healthy enough for teeth whitening, he or she will carefully review available options with you to find the treatment that works best for your schedule and budget. Here are some of the options available to patients:
- Application of bleaching trays: With this method, your dentist will administer professional strength whitening gel to your teeth using bleaching trays. This process is completed in the dentist’s office but your dentist may suggest that you complete additional treatments at home.
- Laser whitening: Laser whitening is a sophisticated new treatment for stained teeth. With this treatment, a dentist uses a specially formulated whitening gel and customized lighting to whiten your teeth. Because this is a relatively new treatment, it is not offered by all dentists.
- Home whitening treatments: At-home whitening methods supervised by your dentist are attractive to many people because they are less expensive than office-based treatments. However, home whitening treatments tend to take longer to whiten teeth, requiring a longer time commitment from patients. The typical home whitening treatment involves the use of whitening gel and customized trays provided by your dentist.
How do DIY whitening treatments compare to professional treatments?
Some people with stained teeth decide to use an over-the-counter or “Do It Yourself” (DIY) treatment to treat stains on their teeth. From whitening toothpaste to whitening dental strips, there are more over the counter options than ever available to consumers. While it could be tempting to use these bleaching products at home, it is important to realize that they do not produce the same results as professional treatments administered by a trained dentist. Additionally, because the use of these products would not be monitored by a trained dentist, patients could misuse these DIY products and possibly cause damage to their teeth. If you are thinking about using an over the counter treatment, it is always best to consult with a trained dentist before you spend your money.
What is the safest way to successfully whiten your teeth?
Clearly, there are many ways to treat your stained teeth. However, the safest and most effective way to whiten your stained teeth is to visit a specialist in cosmetic dentistry. A trained dentist will examine your teeth and suggest the best treatment to safely transform your teeth with a proven and professional whitening treatment.
At Blue Ash Dental, we will outline the various whitening methods with you and determine which treatment is the best fit for your teeth and budget. We encourage you to contact us today to schedule a consultation with our dental team. We look forward to showing you why we are Cincinnati’s most trusted provider of tooth whitening services!