What Causes Tooth Discoloration?
There’s really no reason for your overall health as to why you need whiter teeth. While teeth discoloration might be a sign of an underlying health condition, like infection or a dead tooth, in many cases, tooth discoloration is just a result of staining.
Some of the main culprits of yellow teeth are coffee and tea, which can stain the outer layer of the tooth, known as the enamel. This is what gives teeth their pearly, bright white appearance. Drinking alcohol, especially wine, as well as smoking can affect the color of your teeth as well.
Sometimes, people might have staining underneath the outer layer of enamel. This is most often due to antibiotics or tiny cracks in the teeth that can absorb stains. Trauma to a tooth can also cause it to become discolored if the underlying root dies off.
Note that whitening can really only help eliminate surface stains on a tooth. With that said, it is a safe and effective procedure to help restore your brilliant smile.
What Is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening can take a few different forms depending on how you want the procedure completed. There are professional in-office methods, professional out-of-office methods, as well as home remedies.
The most effective form of teeth whitening is done by a dental professional right inside the office. In-office bleaching involves lightening the color of the tooth by applying chemicals to the outer layer of the teeth.
The active ingredient in most whitening products is hydrogen peroxide. Tooth stains have color compounds that are darker in shade. They’re called chromogens. Hydrogen peroxide reacts with the chemical bonds inside of these chromogens to neutralize the shade and make the teeth appear whiter.
First, your dentist will apply the compound to the teeth. Then, they will expose the teeth to a bright light to allow the chemical reaction to occur more quickly. Typically, it will take a few 30-minute sessions to get your teeth to exactly the color that you want.
Dentist Prescribed At-Home Bleaching
Since it can take multiple sessions, many dentists will prescribe at-home bleaching products so you can do it on your own time. Your dentist can make a custom-fitted mouthpiece that contains the bleaching materials. You’ll then wear this mouthpiece for the specified period of time every day for about a week.
At-home bleaching is usually just as effective as in-office bleaching, but it’s always safest to get whitening done by a professional whenever possible.
Some individuals like to use home remedies or over-the-counter (OTC) fixes to whiten their teeth. While some of these might be effective, they are not as safe as treatments conducted or prescribed by a professional.
Baking soda and lemon juice is an age-old tactic for brightening teeth. You’ll just make a paste by combining about two teaspoons of baking soda with enough lemon juice to turn it into a paste-like consistency. Then, use a soft-bristled brush and brush your teeth as normal for two minutes.
Coconut oil is another remedy that uses the strategy of “oil pulling,” which essentially removes the bacteria found in plaque that can make your teeth yellow. Even if this one doesn’t work to brighten your teeth, it can still promote gum health and keep your breath fresh (so long as you can stand the taste of it).
You can also buy whitening strips over the counter from your local drugstore. While these are less expensive than professional treatments, they tend to be a bit more abrasive. This can lead to tooth sensitivity down the road. With that said, they are considered safe and effective at improving your smile.
Cost of Teeth Whitening
The only real problem with teeth whitening is that it can run up a pretty hefty price tag. And since it’s considered a cosmetic procedure, dental insurance companies will not cover it under their terms. This means that, even with insurance, you’ll be stuck paying out of pocket for your whitening.
In-office whitening can range anywhere from $75 to $200 per session, considering it takes multiple sessions to get where you want. It might cost you upwards of $800 by the time you’re done. That’s totally inaccessible for most people — but you don’t need to let price be a barrier between you and the care you need.
Flossy is a pay-as-you-go dental service where you only pay for the services you receive. And since we can save you up to 50% on dental procedures, from whitening to root canals, you’ll be saving money from your procedure onwards.
There are no membership fees, no annual premiums, and no hidden pricing, so you know exactly what you’re getting. Gain access to top-of-the-line dental care even without insurance.
Go into your appointment with confidence: Our dentists are vetted against a rigorous set of criteria to ensure you’re getting top-quality care despite the low prices. Did we mention there’s no waiting period? So find a dentist in the Phoenix area near you and get started towards a healthier, brighter smile today.
Tips To Prevent Teeth Stains
Teeth whitening is not a permanent procedure, so it’s entirely possible that your teeth will become discolored again in the future. You can take some steps to improve your dental hygiene and prevent this, though.
For one, try to limit foods that cause stains, like coffee and wine. Additionally, try to quit smoking. Not only does smoking stain your teeth, but it also puts you at an increased risk of gum disease and tooth loss.
Brushing and flossing regularly can also help to remove stain-causing particles before they latch themselves to your teeth. Finally, be sure to visit a dentist for a professional cleaning once every six months. If you don’t have insurance, Flossy can help you save big on routine dental cleanings, too.
Teeth whitening serves to brighten the color of the teeth after they’ve been discolored due to stains. Coffee, wine, and tea are just a few of the main reasons why you might see some yellowness on the teeth.
Whitening uses chemicals, usually hydrogen peroxide, to break down the chemicals that cause stains. In-office and dentist-prescribed bleaching methods are the most effective, while home remedies are cost-effective but might not work as well.
Speaking of costs, whitening can be expensive, especially since it is not covered by insurance. But you don’t need to let the cost of care be a barrier between you and the teeth of your dreams. Flossy can help you get teeth whitening for 50% off the out-of-pocket costs.
No insurance? Perfect. Book an appointment with a leading dentist today and save time, money, and stress on your dental care.
Tooth Whitening: What We Now Know | PMC
How to Whiten Your Teeth: 4 Home Remedies | Cleveland Clinic
Smoking, Gum Disease, and Tooth Loss | Overviews of Diseases/Conditions | Tips From Former Smokers | CDC
What causes discolored teeth and is there any way to cure or prevent staining? | Tufts Now