Cosmetic Teeth Whitening

If your teeth are looking a little stained or yellow, you may be able to have a whiter smile again with teeth whitening. Steven Markow, DDS and David A. Daniel DDS of MD Family Dental Care, in Randallstown, MD have been performing a variety of cosmetic dental services for years. A beautiful smile is the first thing that many people will notice about you, so why not make a great first impression!

There are several methods available to whiten and improve your smile.  Not every whitening protocol will work for everyone.  Depending upon the reason that you may have discoloration will help guide us to the best solution for whitening your smile again.

The outer layer of your tooth is the enamel. Typically, it is “whiter” than the inner part called the “dentin”, which tends to be a yellower color. If a person grinds at night or uses an abrasive toothpaste for years, they can actually wear off the enamel exposing the yellower dentin inside. In this situation, simply bleaching the tooth may not be enough. We might recommend porcelain veneers if the wear is extensive.

If the discoloration is from coffee, tea, smoking or berries, for example, then it is more superficial and the many whitening options are an excellent way to go. Some often people call it “bleaching” your teeth. Essentially, there are small pores in the teeth which pick up stains and with any whitening technique, you are “bleaching” the debris or stained material in the microscopic pores leading from the outside to the inside of your teeth.

Some common causes for teeth to stain or discolor include: fluorosis from too much fluoride, tetracycline staining from a child taking the medication during the early tooth formation years, and from certain berries or nuts, drinks such as coffee or tea, or habits such as smoking.

At-Home Teeth Whitening Options

The more predictable options that we use at this office is the custom-made trays that we make for our patients and provide a gel that you can apply to the inner side of the tray. These are worn for at least 4 hours a night for a period of up to two weeks. Most patients will be able to achieve a very successful improvement in the color of their teeth.

As the bleaching agent comes in contact with the teeth, in some cases, patient may experience temporary sensitivity to air or cold. This is normal and will subside quickly. If you have exposed roots or open cavities, you may want to have those issues addressed first before bleaching.

When you get your trays, you will be shown how to care for them and how to apply the gel so you don’t use too little or too much gel. Please note that any old fillings or crowns that are present will NOT whiten and that should be taken into consideration when choosing the method for whitening.

One advantage of using custom trays, is that teeth whitening is not considered permanent. You most likely will have to repeat the process over time. Some patients like to “freshen up” their smile once a month, and for others, the lighter color can last for a few years. Everyone is different and will have a different experience.

Whitening Toothpastes… do they work? We consider theses toothpastes in the category of short-term temporary stain removal. The tooth may look “whiter” because it removes the tartar or stains on the teeth, however, they generally won’t make them a lighter color.

White strips… do they work? The advantage of using the thin white strips you may be able to pick up at the drug store, is the price. They are inexpensive. The problem is, if you have rotated or irregular alignment of your teeth, the strip may not even touch the surface of your teeth, or it can sometimes lead to streaking or spotting from the gel. It is more difficult to control the amount of lightening, or for that matter, whether the strips will even stay in place very long. It almost feels like putting a piece of Scotch Tape over your teeth. If a tooth turned lighter from having the strip on there for five minutes, it would darker after having coffee. While the teeth are slightly porous, they are that porous, so this means you have to keep purchasing the strips and using them continuously. In rare cases, a patient will in fact see some good results from the strips, but most of the time, this isn’t the case.

For that beautiful smile, come visit our office for a complimentary consultation with either Steven Markow, DDS or David A. Daniel, DDS today!