Three Options For Whiter Teeth

Whiter smiles for our Wickford patients!

Whitened smileA lot of things may have changed for us during lockdown; some more permanent than others. Some of us may have struggled whilst others may have used the time to consider where they really want to go in their lives. Nearly all of us will have made sacrifices though and this includes having to accept a lack of professional dental care whilst practices were closed.

Hopefully, most of you will have managed to maintain healthy teeth and gums at home, helped by a good brushing and flossing regime. There will have been a few accidents and unexpected problems which will be given priority for appointments now we are open again. One thing that is likely to have happened to some of us though, is that our teeth have darkened or discoloured.

What causes discolouration?

There are a number of things that can lead to stained or discoloured teeth. The most obvious of these is if we consume a lot of products that can cause this. Classic examples include tea, red berries and even soy sauce. These are all dark coloured foods and drinks that are well known to be problematic for the colour of our teeth. Even non dark coloured food and drinks can contribute though. Whilst red wine can be added to the list above, even white wine can lead to staining. This is because it is quite acidic and this can cause the normally smooth enamel to become rougher. This in turn ‘traps’ those darker staining foods and leads to darker looking teeth.

A similar thing occurs if we have missed out on our regular ‘scale and polish’ that we encourage patients to have every six months or so. This has not been possible for a while and the buildup of tartar on our teeth will have also created a rougher surface for staining foods and drinks to attach to. But not all discolouration comes from surface staining. The dentin layer beneath the enamel gradually becomes darker with age and can result in yellow looking teeth. It doesn’t matter how well we brush our teeth to get rid of this, it simply will not work as the staining is below the surface.

Restoring the whiteness of your teeth

If you are unhappy with the colour of your teeth, the best thing that you can do is to arrange an appointment at the Cygnet Dental Practice so that we can determine the cause of the problem along with the most appropriate treatment.

There are three potential treatments that we can use that can help you to have whiter teeth again.

Scale and polish

This isn’t really a cosmetic dental treatment but is one that is essential for healthy gums. For those whose teeth are only slightly discoloured by surface staining though, the removal of tartar will help to keep your teeth looking whiter. The high speed brush that is used for the final part of the treatment will also help to remove some staining from the surface of your teeth.

Whilst this may not resolve more significant staining, it is a useful start and anything that encourages better gum health can only be a good thing too.

Teeth whitening

This is the most common method used to whiten teeth that have become stained or discoloured. At the Cygnet Dental Practice we offer a custom home whitening treatment. This should not be confused with the less effective home whitening kits that can be bought at chemists.

The first difference is that instead of a ‘one size fits all’ tray, we take impressions of your teeth and these are sent to a dental lab for your own personalised trays to be made. This is important, and not only for reasons of comfort. The whitening gel that is placed into these trays can irritate the lips and gums if it comes into contact with them, but the secure fitting of these custom made trays minimises this risk. The second difference is in the strength or the whitening gel. Those kits bought from a chemist are strictly regulated and the gel is much weaker than the formulation dentists can use. Naturally, the effect of the gel we provide is much more effective at whitening your teeth than the shop bought ones.

Dental veneers

Veneers are an option if your teeth are badly stained, and can also be used for teeth that have become chipped or cracked. They usually require some dental surgery though as, in most cases, a portion of surface enamel will have to be removed prior to fitting them. There are some types available that can be attached directly to the enamel without this preparatory step, but the additional length and thickness which results, can make the teeth appear more prominent than normal.

The advantage of veneers is that they should last you for around ten years providing that you look after them, and the porcelain used is very stain resistant, helping to maintain a good level of whiteness longer term.

All of these three methods can help to give you a whiter smile and we’ll be delighted to discuss the most appropriate method for you when you attend for an initial consultation at our Wickford dental centre. If you would like to make an appointment, please call us on 01268 733078.