Posts for tag: teeth whitening
Like other aspects of our lives, aging can take a toll on our smile. Over a lifetime the effects of disease, teeth wearing and the foods we eat can cause our teeth and gums to look unattractive.
Here are 3 of the most common age-related dental problems and how we can help you "turn back the clock" on each one.
Discoloration. Teeth can dull and grow darker over time. And not just from what we eat or drink—age-related structural changes in the tooth can also cause discoloration. We can often alleviate external staining temporarily with teeth whitening. If the staining is heavy or it originates inside the tooth, then we can install life-like porcelain veneers or crowns to cover the discoloration. We can also use composite dental materials to alter the color of one darkened tooth so that it doesn't stand out from the rest of your teeth.
Wearing. Our teeth naturally wear down over time. If the wearing is excessive, though, teeth can look shorter and less youthful. Again, we can use veneers or crowns to change a tooth's outward appearance and make them look longer. We can also employ enamel contouring and reshaping that smoothes out sharper edges caused by wearing to give your teeth a softer, more youthful look.
Receding gums. On the other end of the spectrum, gums that have shrunk back or receded from the teeth can make them look much larger and unattractive. Our first step is to treat any gum disease present—the most common cause of recession—which often helps the tissues to regenerate. If your case is more advanced, though, you may also need grafting surgery to restore lost gum tissue. Using in-depth microsurgical techniques, surgeons attach grafted gum tissue at the recession site. Over time new tissue will grow, restoring adequate gum coverage.
You can also improve your appearance at any age with orthodontics. Besides a more attractive smile, properly aligned teeth tend to wear more slowly and evenly. This and proper daily oral hygiene and regular dental care can keep your teeth looking younger even in your later years.
If you would like more information on gaining a more youthful smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Your Dentist can help you Look Younger.”
Whitening is a great solution, but certain precautions should be taken before starting. As always, dentistry is always patient-specific, so check with your dental care provider first if whitening is for you.
One of the most common side effects of whitening is sensitivity. If you are a patient who experiences sensitivity on a day-to-day basis, talk to your dental health care provider before starting any whitening treatment, so they make your whitening experience as comfortable as possible for you or seek alternative procedures that might be required before you start.
It is recommended that before you use whitening, to use a strong sensitivity-fighting toothpaste. These toothpaste contain ingredients like potassium nitrate, arginine, strontium acetate hemihydrate or calcium sodium phosphosilicate. These ingredients have been clinically proven to reduce sensitivity effectively. Before bed, rub a pea-sized amount of this toothpaste on your teeth with a clean finger. Leave it alone for one minute to let the toothpaste desensitize your teeth. Then, brush your two minutes, and rinse with as little water as possible. Do not eat or drink before bed. This should be done 14 days before you start whitening your teeth, especially if you have sensitive teeth or a history of sensitive teeth from whitening products.
The most effective whitening products that can be bought over the counter (i.e., at your local Shoppers or Walmart) are the whitening strips. Whitening strips are most effective if your teeth are perfectly aligned. If you have misaligned teeth, you might not get all of your smile whitened, because of the shape of the strips.
The best option for whitening is to go with custom whitening. This is done in two ways. The first is in-office whitening, which is usually an hour or longer appointment, where a strong whitening gel is applied directly to the teeth and activated by a special light. The other option is custom trays, where models of your teeth are used to make custom trays. These trays are take home, and a special whitening gel is accompanied. The duration of how many days and for how long each day depends on your goals and your tolerance for the products.
Home care while using whitening treatments
If you are now using either the whitening strips or the professional custom trays, similar to prevention, apply sensitive toothpaste on your teeth for one minute before brushing. Then, apply the strips or custom trays filled with whitening gel. Remove as instructed by the instruction on the box or as informed by your dental professional, respectively.
If you begin to feel sensitivity or discomfort, contact the hotline on the box for the whitening strips or call your dental professional for the whitening gels.
Your teeth were meant to shine! Tooth enamel’s polished translucence, framed by the dentin layer beneath it, has a way of vibrantly catching the light when you smile. But tooth wear and structural changes as you age can dim that shine. Add to that staining caused by foods and beverages or disease and your smile could further lose its luster.
On your supermarket or pharmacy oral hygiene aisle you’ll find dozens of products promising to restore that lost luster, including toothpastes, whitening kits or even chewing gum. While such products work to some degree, our dental office may have the right solution for you: a safe and effective treatment for whitening teeth.
Why see us for teeth whitening? For one, professional whitening solutions contain a higher concentration of bleaching agent (usually 35-45% hydrogen peroxide) than home kits. We usually apply it in a gel form directly to the teeth while using barrier devices like dams to protect the lips and other soft tissue from irritation. We may then apply heat or light to the applied gel to enhance the release of peroxide into your enamel.
This professional procedure can often give you a brighter smile in fewer sessions than a home whitening kit — and it may last longer. What’s more, we can control the level of brightness to produce only a subtle change or a dazzling “Hollywood” smile — whatever your preference.
Like a home kit, this procedure bleaches staining on the outer surface of enamel, known as extrinsic staining. But you can also have discoloration deep within a tooth, known as intrinsic staining, caused by a variety of reasons like tetracycline use early in life or complications from a root canal treatment. Home kits or even the professional treatment described above can’t whiten intrinsic staining.
For intrinsic staining you’ll need a special procedure that places a bleaching agent inside the tooth. Depending on the extent of staining the procedure could require more than one session.
To find out what kind of discoloration you have, visit us for a full examination. We’ll then be able to give you your options for putting the shine back in your smile.
If you would like more information on teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Whitening.”