Celebrate the New Year with a Whiter, Brighter, Smile

Teeth Whitening img1 at Family Dental of Spokane Valley | Dr. Craig Ellsworth - Spokane Valley, WA Dentist

For 2018, take a few years off your appearance. Resolve to look livelier and more polished. Send your self-confidence through the roof and supercharge your social and professional lives.
You can do all of this with one surprisingly simple procedure.
Come to Family Dental of Spokane Valley for professional teeth whitening. There’s just no reason to accept your dark, dingy teeth. We will lift those stains, brightening your pearly whites and your spirit in the process. Call our Spokane Valley, WA office at 509-850-3217 to book an appointment.

The Many Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Perhaps you’ve thought that your stained smile is just a natural part of growing older. This is partially true, as our teeth do tend to become darker as we age. That doesn’t mean that discoloration cannot be prevented, or fixed when it does happen.
There are two general types of tooth stains.
Discoloration of just the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is called extrinsic staining. Extrinsic staining is relatively simple to remove and tends to be caused by our habits and what we consume. Poor oral hygiene may worsen the problem. Common culprits for extrinsic staining are:

  • Coffee and tea
  • Dark fruits: raspberries, cranberries, cherries, blackberries, blueberries
  • Wine (even white)
  • Soda, juice, and sports drinks
  • Cigarettes and other tobacco products
  • Tomato-based pasta sauce
  • Curry
  • Balsamic vinegar

Foods that are high in acid exacerbate the problem, as the acid roughs up the surface of the teeth and makes stains more likely to stick.
When the interior structure of the tooth (dentin) darkens or yellows, that is called intrinsic staining. Intrinsic staining is much more difficult to remove. Common causes include:

  • Overexposure to fluoride as a child
  • Use of tetracycline antibiotics at a young age (or your mother’s use of them during pregnancy)
  • Trauma to the tooth
  • Certain medical conditions

Covering severe intrinsic stains may require cosmetic procedures such as dental veneers or tooth bonding.

A Note on Drugstore Whitening Kits

Why bother coming to the dentist, you may be wondering, when easy-to-use home whitening kits are available at any drugstore?
Many drugstore kits work in basically the same way, with a whitening gel held against the teeth with a mouthguard-like tray. But don’t be fooled — they are not  the same.

  • Drugstore kits use a much lower concentration of whitening agent, so they do not whiten as effectively, if at all.
  • Over-the-counter product mouth trays are one size fits all, which effectively means they don’t fit anyone properly. This results in uneven distribution of the gel, which may leach onto the gums and other sensitive areas, causing pain and sensitivity.
  • With store-bought whitening, you are on your own. Because you are not under the supervision of a professional, you have no one to ask if things aren’t going right, or to warn you if you are damaging your teeth or gums. This is a real risk with over-the-counter products, as you may be tempted to keep them on your teeth longer than advised to get results.

Opalescence: a Professional System with Take-Home Convenience

At Family Dental of Spokane Valley, we use the Opalescence professional take-home whitening system. This is a dentist-supervised, professional-strength product that offers you the convenience of whitening at home.

  • Opalescence uses a safe formula containing potassium nitrate and fluoride that’s designed to protect the teeth and keep enamel healthy.
  • The gel comes in mint and melon flavors to make the whitening experience more pleasant.
  • No ill-fitting one-size-fits-all trays: Dr. Ellsworth will create custom whitening trays from precise impressions of your mouth.
  • The system is flexible, offering gels appropriate for daytime whitening and (less concentrated) gels designed for overnight whitening.
  • If you experience problems during whitening — teeth sensitivity, disappointing results, or any other issue — Dr. Ellsworth will be happy to adjust your treatment plan.

Keep that Smile Bright

Once you have your brilliant new Opalescence smile, how do you ensure your pearly whites don’t go back to their former dingy state?

  • Whenever possible, avoid consuming staining drinks and beverages: dark berries, wine, coffee, tea, soda.
  • When you do eat or drink something that could stain your teeth, brush and floss right afterward. It’s not a bad idea to keep a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss at your place of work. If brushing’s not possible, rinse your mouth out with water.
  • As always, practice good oral hygiene at home and come to Family Dental of Spokane Valley every six months for a checkup.

Ready for your close-up? Request an appointment at Family Dental of Spokane Valley through our convenient online form, or call our Spokane Valley, WA office at 509-850-3217.

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