Teeth whitening is a great way to rejuvenate your smile and boost your self-confidence. It is easy, painless and relatively quick. Experienced cosmetic dentist Dr. Preet Sandhu offers customized take-home whitening trays, so you can complete the treatment on your own time, in the comfort of your own home. It takes about two weeks to see results. To learn how to maintain these results, please review the sections below. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Sandhu in Crystal Lake, IL, please call Crystal Family Dental Care at 815-893-6345.
Types of Teeth Stains
If you are still considering whether to have your teeth whitened, you might be wondering if the treatment is capable of addressing the types of discoloration you have. Stains on your teeth can actually come from multiple sources. The first thing to understand is that there are two types of stains:
- Extrinsic. These stains form on the outer layer of your teeth. They are the most common stains, caused by what you eat and drink, as well as poor dental hygiene and smoking. Extrinsic stains are most effectively removed with professional teeth whitening.
- Intrinsic. Discoloration that develops inside the tooth is called intrinsic staining. Common causes are the natural aging process and physical tooth trauma. Certain medications can also cause this type of discoloration, as well as abnormally high ingestion of fluoride. These stains are not as responsive to teeth whitening, but may be reduced somewhat by the treatment. An even better solution is porcelain veneers, which are placed over the surface of the teeth and will cover any flaws beneath.
Dr. Sandhu will examine your teeth and health history to determine the most effective methods of whitening.
Foods and Beverages That Wreck Your Results
What you eat and drink is one of the main ways tooth enamel becomes discolored. Over the years, the staining will get worse and worse. Fortunately, tooth whitening is very effective at removing these stains.
Foods that stain include:
- Tomato sauce
- Soy sauce
- Curry sauce
Beverages that can stain include:
- Red or white wine
- Black coffee
- Sports drinks
These foods and beverages are high in one of the following: acid, tannins or chromogens. Acidic foods can discolor your teeth by stripping and softening enamel, which makes the yellow dentin at the center of your tooth more visible. It also makes it easier for stains to set in on your enamel. Tannins make it easier for stains to affix themselves to your enamel, while chromogens are intensely colored pigments that stain.
How Often Will I Need Touchups?
Teeth whitening results are not permanent. In fact, they can begin to tarnish in the first few months after your appointment. If you continue to eat and drink stain-causing products, or if you are a smoker, than you will likely notice sullied results as soon as six months, at which point you may want to ask Dr. Sandhu for a touchup. If you are diligent about good dental habits, you may be able to extend your results for a year or longer before a touchup is beneficial.
Here is what you can do to extend the results for as long as possible:
- Rinse with water. Swishing water around after you eat or drink will rinse away some of the debris, which may prevent that debris from sitting on your enamel and causing stains.
- Cut out soda. Soda and other sugary, carbonated beverages cause tooth discoloration and tooth decay. Consider cutting back or cutting them out of your diet.
- Drink with a straw. Liquid mostly bypasses the front of your teeth when you drink through a straw. If you are enjoying a soda, iced coffee or iced tea, start using a straw to prevent stains.
- Brush after each of the three major meals. Brushing is the best way to remove the stain-causing food and beverage debris from the surface of your teeth.
- Chew sugar-free gum. Gum not only picks up food debris on your teeth, it also causes your mouth to produce more saliva, which acts as a natural mouth wash to carry away stain-causers.
- Go to your routine cleanings. Tooth plaque and decay discolor your teeth. Your at-home brushing must be combined with professional cleanings every six months. During your cleaning, the hygienist removes stubborn plaque and tartar you can't remove with a brush and floss.
For tips individualized to your lifestyle and dental hygiene, ask Dr. Sandhu for tips to maintain your whitening results.
What To Do Next
Have you already received teeth whitening and are interested in a touchup or routine cleaning? Are you looking into teeth whitening for the first time? Dr. Sandhu is personally committed to helping her patients achieve the smiles of their dreams. To arrange a consultation with Dr. Sandhu in Crystal Lake, Illinois, please call our experienced staff at 815-893-6345.