"Ask a Dentist" is back! Did you know that in-office teeth whitening is now the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatment in the U.S.? Would you like to revive your discolored or stained smile? This week, our featured dentist is Dr. Katie McCann, who answers questions about professional teeth whitening. A telephone survey conducted in 2011 found that 89% of those polled felt a bright or white smile makes a good first impression.
Further, 55% believed a person's smile is the best physical indicator of someone's friendliness. Lastly, the survey asked respondents if they would instead change the whiteness or straightness of their teeth. 53% chose to enhance the whiteness of their teeth over any other cosmetic reason.
Teeth Whitening Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can everybody get their teeth whitened at a dental office? If so, how often is the best?
Answer: It is safe for most patients to have their teeth whitened at the dental office. It is safer to have it done under professional supervision than by one's self at home. A trained professional can monitor the dosage of whitening, the application, and any potential side effects such as sensitivity and gingival burning, says Dr. McCann.
She recommends having a professional dental examination before starting the teeth whitening process. Your dentist will perform a deep cleaning on your teeth. Prophylactic cleanings remove debris, build-up, and plaque in between and on your teeth. Next, your dentist performs a thorough exam of your mouth to look for any issues like decaying teeth, gum disease, or cracks in your teeth.
According to Dr. McCann,
It is important to determine the cause of tooth discoloration. And rule out the origin of periodontal disease, like pulpal necrosis, caries, genetic abnormalities, and fluorosis. It is wise to avoid whitening procedures during pregnancy and childhood. It is also important to determine if bleaching is safe for patients with bonding or multiple restorations, as hydrogen peroxide could damage dental work. The most common side effects of bleaching are gingival burning or sensitivity. Both are reversible and usually minor in severity.
Question: What are the best foods to eat to maintain healthy white teeth?
Answer: Whitening is only temporary. What we eat and drink will affect the color of our teeth and how long the bleaching lasts. Did you know drinks like soda, coffee, tea, fruit juice, and wine all stain our teeth? Although fruits and vegetables are healthy, berries and beets are known to excessively stain teeth. It is essential to avoid these foods and drinks for at least two weeks after bleaching your teeth. Why is this the case? Because bleaching causes the enamel to become porous, allowing the pigments to penetrate and stain teeth more quickly, says Dr. McCann.
She advises: To keep teeth white and healthy, I recommend patients eat crunchy fruits such as pears and apples. Crunchy fruits help cleanse the teeth while being masticated (chewed). Also, it is vital to have constant salivary stimulation because saliva washes and helps to re-mineralize teeth. One can achieve salivary stimulation by chewing sugar-free gum.
Age, Genetics, and Smoking Cause Tooth Discoloration
As we age, our teeth naturally darken. It might be due to genetics, eating habits, or poor oral health. Many patients say they feel their teeth have a brown, yellow, green, or gray tint to their teeth as they get older. Smoking and tobacco use is the number one cause of discolored teeth. Not only is it detrimental to your oral health, but smoking is also the leading cause of lung cancer. If you are a smoker for many reasons, please stop for your health!
Get Whiter Teeth Today
Are you interested in professional teeth whitening? The first step to achieve long-lasting, effective teeth whitening results is to schedule your consultation. It is essential from the onset that you have the right expectation in terms of visible results. Some patients only require one (1) treatment to achieve the shade of white they desire. Depending on how stained or discolored your teeth are and how white you want them, the Smile Generation team is committed to finding the solution for you. Get connected with a dentist near you for a whiter, brighter smile today.
About Dr. McCann, DDS
Dr. Katie McCann, DDS, graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago College of Dentistry. She is a practicing dentist at Aurora Modern Dentistry in Aurora, Colorado. When not busy practicing dentistry, Dr. McCann enjoys exercising, running, volleyball, gymnastics, boating, skiing, wakeboarding, and spending time with her pet Pug, Lucy.