Teeth Whitening in High Prairie

Teeth whitening might just be the most frequently requested service that western dentists offer. That’s right, above and beyond the desire for straight teeth is the desire to have teeth that are white and bright. The reason for this is two-fold: one, because white teeth are esthetically pleasing, and second, because teeth whitening is comparatively less costly than other cosmetic procedures such as bonding or veneers which can also give teeth a pleasing colouration.

Why Do Teeth Discolour?

Natural Discolouration

When your teeth begin to change colour to a yellow or brownish tone this is likely due to age or lifestyle. Your teeth are comprised of the pulp (chamber inside the tooth that houses your tooth’s nerve and blood supply), dentin (which gives your tooth strength and form) and enamel (the layer on the surface of the tooth that protects dentin from damage).  Dentin is what most of our teeth is made from, and it tends to yellow with time. This slight discolouration is visible through the enamel because the enamel is partially transparent. Because men’s teeth tend to be larger than women’s teeth, it is common to see more discolouration of men’s teeth as they age.

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Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors are the factors that we expose our teeth to on a regular basis. This includes smoking, drinking and nutrition. If you are a smoker, it is likely that you will experience discolouration of the teeth as the particles, such as tar, in the smoke begin to stain the enamel from the outside. This is a similar effect to yellowed fingers that have been exposed to cigarettes over a long period of time.

Unfortunately, discolouration of teeth is likely to be chronic until you quit the smoking habit for good. The good news is, discolouration is a great incentive to stop smoking (along with its physical effect on your health!). If you are having difficulty kicking the habit, you might consider speaking with your family doctor about techniques such as hypnotherapy or smoking cessation drugs to help you leave cigarettes behind.

It’s not just smokers that experience yellowing of the teeth. Consuming foods that stain the teeth may also be a factor. When you drink alcohol, the acidic properties are hard on the enamel of your teeth. Combined with dark colour and sugar, drinks like red wine, coffee or tea and soft drinks are a triple threat where your enamel is concerned. The acidic beverage acts on the enamel, while ‘stainers’ go to work staining the teeth. While this occurs, sugars in your coffee, wine or sodas feed oral bacterium who will then excrete more… you guessed it… acid.

Besides increasing your intake of still water, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the staining power of your foods. First, limit your intake of acidic drinks to mealtimes where the food you eat can offset the acidic pH. No sipping all afternoon! Brush your teeth after consuming these drinks to stop the acid production in the mouth. Finally, see your dentist for regular cleanings. Tartar buildup on the teeth can be unsightly when stained with colour-rich liquids and requires the special touch of a trained dental professional, such as a hygienist, to remove.

Nutrition

The foods you eat can contribute to the number of oral bacteria present in the mouth. A diet high in carbohydrates and simple sugars feeds bacteria with each mouthful. Keep your teeth tartar free after your professional cleaning by consuming a diet high in protein and green leafy vegetables along with your daily oral care routine.

See a Dentist for Professional Whitening

While there are a number of over-the-counter products available to whiten the teeth at home, we suggest seeing your dentist for the most comfortable and effective whitening experience. Your dentist has access to clinical-strength bleaching systems which will offer more ‘bang’ for your buck where your finances are concerned. These professional bleaching/whitening systems are also equipped with everything you need to reduce the likelihood of discomfort after a whitening session.

First, custom trays and gum barriers offer the ability to apply whitening solution only to the teeth and not to the sensitive tissues around them such as your gums. This greatly reduces the irritation for many bleaching patients but for those who still experience sensitivity following whitening treatments, your dentist can offer a rehydrating solution to return hydration to the dentin and therefore decrease any pressure felt in the nerve as the dentin contracts slightly with the application of whitening solution.

By working with your dentist to find the best whitening option for you, you get to skip the process of trial-and-error (or trial and discomfort) with drug-store brands. If you have questions about this or other services offered by our general dentists, contact our clinic today!

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