Over time, the natural effects of aging cause tooth enamel to become discolored. When we factor in eating and drinking darkly pigmented foods through the years, tarnished teeth are to be expected. There are many contributors to stained and discolored teeth, but you do not have to live with the embarrassment of an aged, yellowing smile any longer. Dr. Gibbon and Dr. Scott Lee offer professional teeth whitening that’s safe and effective. If you want to turn back the clock on your smile, call our Mesa, AZ office today at (480) 838-4185 and schedule a consultation with one of the doctors.
What is Teeth Whitening?
Most people consider an attractive smile to be an attribute of good looking, healthy, successful individuals. This is why teeth whitening has become one of our most sought after treatments. Everyone wants to look good and be thought of as a success! Professional teeth whitening can lighten your teeth and remove discoloration and stains. Perhaps best of all, it can be done in the comfort of your own home. Within just a couple of weeks, your teeth will be several shades brighter.
What Causes Teeth to Discolor?
The color of your teeth is determined by the reflection of light off of the surface enamel and underlying dentin. Because dentin is more of a yellowish color, people with thinner enamel may notice discoloration from the dentin showing through. If the enamel on your teeth has abrasions from brushing too hard or is smoother than normal, it will reflect light differently and may appear to be discolored as well.
There are two types of dental stains, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic stains emanate from inside the tooth and are caused by issues such as trauma, heredity, or excessive fluoride consumption during childhood. Internal tooth stains may also be caused by the antibiotic tetracycline, whether taken as a child, or by your mother while you were in the womb.
Extrinsic stains discolor the outside of the tooth – the enamel. These topical stains are a natural side effect of aging, but are mainly caused by elements that we introduce to our teeth. Tobacco may be the biggest cause of extrinsic stains. There are two staining agents in tobacco that affect our teeth, tar and nicotine. Tar is naturally dark in color, while nicotine is naturally clear. However, when mixed with oxygen, nicotine turns yellow. Whether you smoke it or chew it, tobacco can darken your teeth by several shades. There are plenty of foods and beverages whose pigments contribute to stained teeth, as well. Dark colored drinks like coffee, colas, and red wine, and foods like carrots, tomatoes, and blueberries, can stain your teeth. Another culprit is tannin. Naturally-occurring tannins are found in plants, red wine, black teas, berries, and chocolate. Tannin sticks to teeth and causes discoloration.
The Whitening Process
Over-the-counter whitening toothpastes, strips, mouth washes, and trays are available for purchase at your local pharmacy or grocery store. These treatments work for removing some surface stains, but they are not as effective as the treatment offered by Dr. Gibbons and Dr. Lee. As dentists, they offer prescription-strength teeth whitening treatments unavailable at pharmacies.
Dr. Gibbons and Dr. Lee use the Natural Elegance whitening system. The first step of the process is to visit our comfortable office for a regular cleaning and examination, to ensure there are no immediate issues that need to be addressed before you begin whitening. After your exam, the doctor will make impressions of your teeth and create custom-fitted trays that sit comfortably and snugly over your teeth. When your trays are ready, you will be sent home with a supply of the Natural Elegance bleaching agent. This special formula contains peroxide that is absorbed into the enamel, where it releases oxygen that breaks up the chemical bond of the stains. After wearing the tray for a short time each day, for approximately two week, you will see a noticeable difference in the whiteness of your teeth. You may continue using the trays until you reach the level of whiteness you desire. Keep them for future home treatments, as well.
Call for a Consultation
If you have stained or discolored teeth and are interested in the whitening process, call our Mesa, AZ dental office at (480) 838-4185 and request a consultation with Dr. Gibbons or Dr. Lee and get started on the road to a whiter, brighter smile.