Teeth Whitening and Teeth Bleaching: What’s the Difference?

Having a bright, beautiful, white smile is something we all desire. It signals health and prosperity and leaves the best possible first impression a person can make. There are a host of products at the drug store that label themselves “whitening.” Whitening toothpastes, whitening mouth rinses, whitening strips, gels and creams all line the shelves, promising a “new you!” Your dentist, however, offers something labeled as “bleaching.” So what’s the difference? Which should you choose?

Your natural tooth is made up of two specific layers: enamel and dentin. The enamel layer is on the outside of the tooth. It’s the white part we see when someone smiles. It’s hard and heavily mineralized and can appear like porcelain. The dentin is the inner layer. It’s yellow in color and supports the enamel on the outside. Over time, your enamel naturally wears away and the yellow dentin color can begin to show through.

The term “whitening” is applied to any product that helps restore teeth to a natural color by removing debris and stains from a natural tooth’s surface. Any substance that restores the surface of a tooth’s enamel is a whitening product. Many whitening products contain a mild abrasive that removes leftover discoloration and food particles, leaving the enamel of the tooth smooth and white. Teeth whitening products combat stains caused by ageing and the discoloration left by many foods, or by smoking.

The FDA permits the term “bleaching” only for products that can whiten a tooth beyond their initial, natural color. Bleaching products contain active ingredients such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide is activated so that it releases oxygen molecules that enter the tooth enamel and break down stains in a way that whitening products cannot. This activation can occur immediately, in the case of some in-office bleaching products, like laser whitening, or it can take several hours, as it can with custom take-home bleaching trays.

If you are considering brightening your smile, talk to Shreveport teeth whitening dentist Dr. Michael Woolbert & Dr. William Hall to see what product is best suited to your smile needs!

Our dental office is located in Shreveport

Reasons Your Teeth May No Longer Be White

It can be rather upsetting to see that your smile is no longer as bright and appealing as it used to. Most people’s teeth become stained and discolored and result of diet and poor oral hygiene habits. It can make the whole appearance look dull and unkempt, giving others the impression you don’t take good care of yourself. Let’s find out the causes and what you can do about it.

Causes
There are some reasons that teeth become stained or yellowed. The culprits for tooth discoloration are as follows:

  • Tobacco – Smoking or chewing on them stains teeth.
  • Foods and drinks – coffee, colas, wines, tea, berries, sauces, and other items that you consume can damage your tooth color.
  • Medications – certain medications are known to discolor teeth, sometimes causing severe stains that are difficult to remove.
  • Poor oral hygiene – improper brushing and flossing is key in removing plaque and stains.
  • Age – aging wears away tooth enamel and reveals the yellowish dentin underneath.
  • Disease – some diseases can harm tooth enamel and trigger discoloration. Certain medical treatments like radiation and chemotherapy can also discolor teeth.
  • Environment – excessive fluoride exposure can stain teeth; this is known as fluorosis.
  • Genetics – some people are more prone to tooth discoloration than others.
  • Trauma – a hit to the maxillofacial region can damage the tooth and cause discoloration due to pulp necrosis.

Prevention
Lifestyle changes can prevent tooth discoloration, such as avoiding foods and drinks known to stain teeth. Improving oral hygiene is another step in the right direction, including regular brushing and flossing and consistent professional teeth cleanings.

Treatment
The options vary depending on the severity of discoloration and goals of the patient. Whitening methods include over-the-counter whitening products, at-home whitening kits provided by the dentist, professional in-office whitening treatments, bonding, and dental veneers. These tools cater for various needs according to patient’s concern.

Our dental office is located in Shreveport

Teeth Whitening Trends

Nobody is happy with yellow or brown teeth. Ugly stains from smoking or consuming foods and drinks prone to discoloring your teeth can make you a good candidate for teeth whitening. There are many techniques available to restore your bright smile. The main two categories of teeth whitening are either at-home kits or professional treatment in a dental office. Let’s learn about these to see which you’d like to use to brighten your smile.

At-home teeth whitening
There are a variety of products you can try yourself to whiten your teeth. These treatments usually take a few weeks of use before your teeth are noticeably whiter. Also remember that most of these products cannot achieve as high of a level of whiteness as those performed professionally.

  • Kits – whitening kits contain a tooth mold and gel to place inside the mold. You wear the filled mold for about 30 minutes for 2-3 weeks.
  • Strips – thin whitening strips are coated with peroxide gel, and then you apply the strips directly to your teeth for 30 minutes for 14 days. Results become evident in a few days and last about four months.
  • Toothpaste – brushing with whitening toothpaste must be done consistently and you must be patient because reaching the desired outcome usually takes a couple of months.

Professional teeth whitening
Treatments done by a dentist are the fastest and most effective way to regain your pearly whites.

  • Laser whitening – the dentist coats your teeth with a hydrogen peroxide solution and then shines a laser light on them. This oxidizes the stains and gives them a whiter appearance.
  • Porcelain veneers – if your teeth are severely stained and other whitening techniques haven’t done the trick, your dentist may recommend porcelain veneers. These shells permanently cover your teeth and provide a beautiful smile.

Teeth Whitening dentist in Shreveport

Don’t Be Afraid of a Smile Makeover

Does your smile need some work? Are you sensitive about your teeth and how you may look while you eat or drink? Does speaking in public leave you anxious because you’re worried about the appearance of your teeth? Have you been putting off talking to a cosmetic dentist because you’re worried about the dental therapies you might need? Don’t be afraid of a smile makeover! A smile makeover can be a simple thing, as minor and fast as teeth whitening, a process that can often be completed in-office in a single visit.

If you are looking for solutions to your smile problems, begin by finding a skilled cosmetic dentist. You want to be sure to see photographs of some of the actual work done by a particular cosmetic dentist. Don’t assume that what you see online are actual patient photographs – they may be someone’s patients, but if they weren’t this dentist’s patients, you’re not getting any closer to identifying the right cosmetic dentist for you.

Ask around for private recommendations from friends and family; it might surprise you how many people you know have had work done to their smiles. You might assume that your coworker’s smile is all natural, only to learn it’s the result of a skilled cosmetic dentist and veneer work done so carefully and well that they look just like natural teeth.

Dental veneers can transform your smile in only a few visits. Good veneers will be made of materials that mimic the color and translucency of natural teeth. They won’t look puffy, too long or artificial and will complement your hair and skin color. Orthodontia can change the alignment of your teeth, with choices such as Invisalign to help you feel more confident as you change your smile.

A smile makeover can benefit you in so many ways by simply boosting your self-confidence. After you complete your treatment, you will be surprised at how much better you feel about yourself and about life in general. You will face the day with confidence, knowing you can live your life without worry about your smile.

Dr. Michael Woolbert & Dr. William Hall is a cosmetic dentist in Shreveport offering smile makeovers.

What You Should Know About Porcelain Veneers

If you are unhappy with your smile, porcelain veneers are a cosmetic dentistry option that can provide you with flawless teeth. Veneers are a very popular way to improve your appearance without a major, invasive procedure. Here are some things you should know about porcelain veneers if you are considering them as a solution for an imperfect smile.

Difference between veneers and crowns
The purpose of veneers is to restore your smile, and your original teeth are not removed or altered. However, a large part of the original tooth structure is removed with crowns in the process of building a new tooth. If you’re seeking a minimally invasive option, veneers may be your answer.

Natural appearance
Veneers are customized just for you, so your smile can be personalized to meet your desires. Your teeth will look natural and healthy. Porcelain is translucent and provides a realistic look to your smile. Also, stains do not stick to porcelain and even if there is any small staining, it can be easily polished off during a dental cleaning.

Permanent solution
Veneers are a permanent tooth restoration, so make sure you are happy with the color and shape before they are placed using dental cement. Alterations cannot be made once the veneers are in place.

Requires healthy teeth
A thorough examination by your dentist is required to determine if veneers are right for you. Some oral conditions do not work well with veneers, so your dentist will make sure your teeth and mouth are healthy enough to work successfully with veneers.

Cosmetic Dentist in Shreveport

Does Asthma Affect Oral Health?

About 20 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma, a long-term lung disease that causes swelling and narrowing of the airways. The condition has been linked to oral health, with patients having increased risk for cavities, gum problems, and bad breath.

One of the main culprits negatively impacting an asthma patient’s oral health is the medication required to treat the condition. Some medicines, such as corticosteroids, decrease the flow of saliva. This leads to dry mouth, which in turn can increase cavities and bad breath. Dry mouth is worsened by the fact that many asthma patients breathe through their mouth. Inhaled steroids can also increase the risk of thrush, which is caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the mouth.

Here are some tips for keeping your mouth safe while still controlling your asthma:

  • Make sure your dentist is aware of your condition, as well as all medications that you are taking.
  • Rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash after using your inhaler.
  • Consider using a spacer device with your inhaler, which will spray the medication directly into your throat and avoid some of the direct risks to your mouth.
  • Bring your inhaler with you to dentist appointments, both to show it to your dentist and to have your medication available in case you experience an asthma attack at the office.
  • Ask your dentist if more frequent dental visits are recommended in your case.
  • Inquire about adding fluoride supplements to your routine, especially in areas where the water is not fluoridated.
  • Maintain good brushing and flossing habits.

If you live in the Shreveport area contact us today