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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
When you look your best, you exude confidence and grace. A vibrant, white smile can add to the image you convey. Cosmetic dentistry has risen in popularity because it allows people to transform their appearances. Make an appointment with your cosmetic dentist in Shreveport for a consultation to discuss your smile enhancement options. While some patients choose a complete smile makeover, any of the following procedures can take your smile from dull to dynamite.
The aging process as well as lifestyle choices can dull your smile. With teeth whitening, you can remove stains and look years younger. Most dentists recommend professional teeth whitening, which you can accomplish through in-office sessions or take-home kits.
If you have small chips, gaps, or cracks in your smile, your dentist may suggest dental bonding. To repair the damaged area, your dentist will use a tooth-colored resin, which is hardened with a special light. Dental bonding blends in with your natural teeth and restores the look of your smile.
Created from fine dental porcelain, veneers can totally change your appearance. With porcelain veneers, your dentist can alter the size, shape, and color of your teeth. Depending on your situation, the doctor may suggest custom veneers designed just for your smile, or no-prep veneers, which can be bonded to your teeth but removed at a later time.
Over time, metal fillings can crack and seep, causing oral health problems, as well as impacting your smile’s appearance. Tooth-colored fillings are constructed to match your original teeth so they blend in seamlessly. Because they bond to the tooth, composite fillings won’t change shape or leak.
For straighter teeth in three to nine months, consider accelerated orthodontics. Usually, accelerated orthodontics works best for people with mild issues to correct or for those who want to straighten front teeth for an important event like a wedding.
The changing seasons can prompt many people to want to change their appearance, perhaps through treating themselves to a brand-new smile. Your dentist in Shreveport can provide a number of different cosmetic dentistry and restorative treatments to help provide a beautifully healthy and natural looking smile.
Cosmetic and Restorative Options
Modern dentistry techniques are extremely sophisticated and your dentist can do a lot to improve your smile. Possible options include porcelain veneers that cover the front surfaces of your teeth, crowns to restore teeth damaged by tooth decay or trauma, dental bonding that helps improve the shape of the tooth in just one easy visit, and enamel reshaping to correct minor issues such as slightly overlapping teeth. Dental implants can be used to replace missing teeth, transforming a gappy smile into something far more pleasing.
Professional teeth whitening can quickly brighten up your smile, creating a youthful and healthy appearance. Your dentist in Shreveport can offer you in-office whitening that will lift the shade of your teeth in just an hour. If you prefer, you can have custom made whitening trays to use at home. Your dentist will provide you with the correct strength of whitening gel to safely bleach your teeth.
It’s never too late to straighten your teeth and adult orthodontics is increasingly popular. Ask your dentist about Invisalign clear braces that will discreetly straighten your smile without really affecting day-to-day activities.
Checkups and Professional Cleanings
Your first step should be to schedule an appointment for a checkup and professional cleaning. Your dentist will need to examine your mouth to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy before carrying out any cosmetic dentistry treatments. They’ll discuss the type of options that might help you, and can compile a treatment plan to improve your smile. A professional cleaning removes tartar buildup and gives your smile an added sparkle. It’s a great treatment for keeping teeth and gums healthy.
Schedule your appointment at our Shreveport dental office
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.