Last week at the office I saw Jaime, my dental hygienist, using a suction tip as a straw to drink her morning coffee. At first I thought it seemed a bit unusual, but then I remembered that she was just following my recommendations. Over the summer I had preformed cosmetic dentistry on her, and asked that she avoid certain beverages or use a straw to avoid staining. That made me think about what everyone should know about how to keep their teeth and cosmetic dentistry staying white.
Tooth whitening has become one of the most requested cosmetic dental services in America. The tooth whitening procedure is both safe and effective. Although there are several different methods, I prefer the dentist-supervised at-home tooth whitening system. The at-home systems generally use 10 to 20 percent carbamide peroxide gels to oxidize stains on the surface of the teeth. The dentist makes impressions (molds) of the mouth, and then has soft, comfortable trays made. The patient is then fitted with the trays, and is instructed to place a thin ribbon of the gel into the tray, which they will then wear for a few hours during the day, or while sleeping. Patients can expect to achieve 10-15 shades of whitening after two or three weeks. In some cases, tooth whitening alone is not enough to improve a smile. More advanced procedures like resin bonding (white fillings), porcelain veneers and all porcelain dental crowns can brighten a smile, while also repairing chips and imperfections, closing gaps, improving contours and creating teeth that have more ideal size and shape.
After cosmetic dentistry, people should consider following a few recommendations to prevent staining their teeth, bonding, porcelain veneers or crowns. I would suggest people avoid or limit beverages including coffee, tea, red wine and dark colored sodas like cola and root beer. Foods such as berries, beets and chocolate can also stain teeth and cosmetic dental treatments.
Aside from beverages and foods, activities such as smoking, chewing tobacco and swimming can also cause significant staining. I am well aware that some of these recommendations may be more difficult than others. For instance, most people could forego beets, but can't do without coffee or diet soda. For people who can't eliminate these drinks, I suggest using a straw which will cleanly bypass the teeth.
Smoking and chewing tobacco should be avoided not just for their discoloring effect, but for their well-known health risks as well. Swimmers can use a custom-made air-tight mouth guard to prevent staining. I also recommend whitening toothpastes in some cases, and professional dental cleanings and examinations twice a year.
If you need a dentist for teeth whitening, call us at 1-866-970-0441. We'll put you in touch with a great dentist today!