Making Your Smile Brighter

Making Your Smile BrighterEveryone loves a bright white smile. But getting and maintaining that smile can take some work.
Before we discuss how to brighten your smile, lets talk about some of things that will take away their pearly luster. Commonly what can affect the whiteness of your smile can be broken into two broad categories, extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic are factors or agents that stain or damage the outer layer of the tooth. Intrinsic factors are those that damage the underlying structure of the tooth or gums. Managing both the extrinsic and intrinsic health of teeth is important when it comes to total tooth care.

Extrinsic concerns can come from drinking coffees, teas, sodas, wines, and tobacco. Any kind of substance that can build up on the outside of the tooth can be a culprit. A good rule of thumb is, if it can stain your carpet it can stain your teeth. Even acidic foods like citrus and berries over time can lead to stain buildup. Cutting back on your consumption of sodas and dark colas is one way to combat extrinsic staining. Another way is to brush after every meal. When brushing isn’t convenient then gargling with a bit of hydrogen peroxide can help (do not swallow). Even warm water will help in a pinch.

For longer term care of extrinsic concerns there are over-the-counter whitening strips. They usually contain a whitening gel (hydrogen peroxide based) and a mouth guard that is worn while sleeping. These over-the-counter remedies are great for cleaning harder stains. However sometimes they aren’t enough and a trip to your dentist or dental hygienist is in order. They have access to more powerful cleaning agents and are trained to diagnose any other dental concerns they may find.

Having a dental professional look at your teeth is especially important in the case of intrinsic discoloration. This kind of discoloration can come from damaged nerves, blood vessels, or infection. Over-the-counter medications and gels will not be able to fix the damage. Teeth bleaching, teeth bonding, and sometimes veneers can be the answer. Teeth bonding involves using a composite resin to match the color and shape of a tooth and can usually be accomplished in a single visit. Veneers are often times made out of porcelain and are shells that cover over the entire tooth. They tend to be more expensive and are not made in the dentists office.

There is a lot more here than meets the eye when it comes to taking care of your smile. It’s always best to meet with your dentist to discuss what options are available to you.

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