It’s no secret your smile is one of the first things people notice about you.
A beautiful set of teeth can make you look and feel more attractive and confident, sending positive ripple effects through all areas of your life.
Unfortunately, the opposite case is also true.
When you’re embarrassed by your teeth, you tend to hide them in public. You avoid smiling, are self-conscious when speaking to others, have poor self-esteem, and feel less confident in your daily life.
While there may be many reasons to hide your smile, discolored, yellow, or stained teeth are a common source of smile shame.
The good news is that discolored teeth are an easy problem to solve – teeth whitening is one of the fastest and most affordable ways to give your smile a huge boost!
If you’re looking to whiten your smile but are unsure where to start, this post is for you. We’ll cover:
- What causes your teeth to discolor and how you can prevent it
- Your teeth whitening options (do those drugstore options actually work?)
- What to expect with professional teeth whitening
Let’s dive right in!
Why do your teeth turn yellow or stain?
The truth is, there are lots of reasons why your teeth might not be as pearly white as you’d like them to be.
Here are a few common ones:
Food and drink
We’re sorry to break it to you: That daily glass of red wine or cup of coffee isn’t doing your smile any favors.
Both coffee and red wine contain organic compounds known as tannins found in a wide variety of natural foods. Tannins produce a rich, deep flavor and can have many health benefits, but are also a big culprit in staining your teeth.
The acids in soda and other sugary drinks and foods can also damage your enamel over time, making the surface of your teeth prone to discoloration.
If the thought of giving up your favorite drinks sends you into a panic, don’t worry!
You can still enjoy your daily cup of joe and keep your teeth gorgeously white. Keep reading to find out more.
Smoking, vaping, and chewing tobacco
Smoking and other tobacco products are harmful to your health for many reasons beyond the color of your teeth, but if you need another reason to quit, here it is:
The tar and nicotine in cigarettes create stubborn stains on your enamel, which is why yellow teeth are a tell-tale sign of a long-time smoker.
We understand quitting is easier said than done, and you still want your teeth to be white. And even if you do successfully swear off tobacco products, yellowing and stains will likely linger.
In both cases, you’ll likely need heavy-duty help, and professional teeth-whitening could be a great option for you.
Medical conditions and medications
Certain medical conditions and associated treatments can damage your enamel, making them vulnerable to discoloration. Cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy are notorious for this issue.
Some antibiotics, blood pressure drugs, antihistamines, antipsychotics, and other medications may also have this effect.
Aging & genetics
Getting older is just a fact of life.
Even with a lifetime of excellent dental care, the enamel on our teeth slowly wears out over time, causing our teeth to naturally yellow.
It’s also a tough reality that genetics play a role in the color of our teeth. Some people naturally have whiter teeth, whereas others aren’t so fortunate.
How can you prevent your teeth from discoloring?
Your first line of defense is to consider cutting any lifestyle factors that may be contributing to the issue.
But for many people, this may not be enough to achieve the pearly white smile of their dreams, or simply isn’t an option (you can’t stop aging or change your genetics!).
So what can you do?
Let’s find out:
Treatment options (drugstore vs. professional teeth whitening)
Teeth whitening can work wonders on the appearance of your smile.
It’s safe, effective, fast, and affordable, giving you incredible results for a tiny fraction of the cost and time associated with many other cosmetic dental treatments.
Over-the-counter drugstore teeth whitening products
You’ve likely seen countless drugstore options for whitening your teeth – those vast shelves of pastes, rinses, and strips, all touting their whitening superpowers.
But do drugstore teeth whitening options really work?
While some over-the-counter options may give you a slight whitening boost, they’re also a great way to waste a lot of money on products that many people find aren’t very effective.
In fact, you may be reading this post because you’ve already tried several drugstore products and haven’t had much luck.
There are also good reasons to be wary of drugstore products from a safety perspective, as they tend to be less regulated than professional options.
The ones that don’t work well are typically far too weak or cannot bleach your teeth for sufficient amounts of time.
On the other hand, the stronger versions can be dangerous to use outside the careful supervision of a dental professional.
That’s one reason many people complain that drugstore whitening products cause painful tooth sensitivity.
So what’s your alternative?
Professional teeth whitening
Teeth whitening performed by an experienced dentist has many advantages compared to over-the-counter products.
Here are just a few reasons to consider professional-level treatments:
- Safety: When performed in the comfort of our office, we carefully control the whitening process and safely administer higher doses of whitening chemicals to get you brilliant results in just one session.
- Effectiveness: Drugstore options typically get your teeth 1-3 shades whiter, whereas professional teeth whitening can boost you 8-10 shades!
- Natural look: We also control the uniformity and shade of your whitening, ensuring an even and natural-looking result.
- Long-lasting: Professional whitening lasts longer than drugstore products, so you can enjoy your beautiful white teeth for months before needing a touch-up.
- Less sensitivity: As experts on your teeth’s nerves, we avoid much of the pain and sensitivity associated with drugstore whitening products.
- Cost-effectiveness: An office visit may seem more expensive upfront than buying drugstore whitening strips, but when you consider bang for your buck, professional treatments deliver. You often have to buy and consistently use a lot of drugstore products to see any results, which may cost you more in the long run with little to show for it.
Want a sneak peek at what professional teeth whitening can do to your smile?
Philips Zoom! has created an awesome app to do just that!
You can upload a picture of your smile and virtually simulate your Zoom! results – a great way to try before you commit.
Check out this video from Philips to see how it works!
What can you expect at your professional teeth whitening appointment?
There are several options available for in-office teeth whitening treatments. At Croasdaile Dental Arts in Durham, NC, we love and use the gentle, yet incredibly effective Philips Zoom! system…Opens in a new window to Zoom! website….
Here are the steps you can expect at your Zoom! teeth whitening visit:
- Preparation: We start by protecting your lips and gums with a comfortable shield, and applying special light-activated whitening gel to your teeth.
- Whitening: You’ll lay back and relax while the Zoom! light activates the gel and works its magic. Depending on the extent of your whitening needs, we’ll do one or more 15 minute cycles of light and gel application.
- Go turn heads: You’ll be out the door and ready to show off your new look in about an hour!
Ready to give your smile a fresh new look?
You can also contact us by one of these other convenient means: