New York Dental Astoria - Blog

Tips, tricks and suggestions about oral health.

Light up Your Smile

We always want to look our very best, especially for those important occasions and celebrations in our lives, such as weddings , graduations , anniversaries and, yes, even first dates. After all, you don't get a second chance to make a good first impression.

But, even, if there isn't a big celebration coming up in the near-future, you don't really need a special reason to want to put your best foot forward.

This is particularly true, when it comes to the appearance of your teeth.
Bright, healthy, sparkling teeth are one of your best calling cards you can have to friends, family, business associates ,co-workers and ,yes, even that cute guy or girl who you're going on a first date with. And, when your teeth are looking their best, doesn't that make you feel so good inside ?

The best place, by far, to achieve the alluring smile that you desire, is at the office of your neighborhood dentist. Together with his or her hygienist, your dentist has the state of the art whitening technology and experience that you need to elevate that smile to brand new heights.

Even if you have been taking good care of your teeth by brushing three times per day and flossing daily, your teeth could still be stained or discolored. A great many factors enter into the equation, which we'll get to in a moment. It's not your fault that your teeth may not look their brightest. But, please know that you are not alone.

Studies and surveys show that, at one time or another, almost eighty percent of patients will request a whitening treatment from their dentist.
Tooth whitening, which is also known as bleaching, is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments in America. Certainly, the craze to look like our favorite movie and TV stars has something to do with Americans' obsession about their appearance. Let's also not discount the Selfie and Facebook photo trends.
Good, old fashioned personal pride plays it's part ,as well, in the desire to have the healthiest, whitest set of teeth, possible.

So, anyway, why do some people's teeth become lightly or severely stained ?

Age has a great deal to do with the discoloration process. And we are not just talking about our senior citizens, either.
Once our baby teeth have fallen out, they are replaced by our (hopefully), permanent, adult teeth. The color of these new teeth can range from yellow or brown to a nasty looking greenish-grey shade.
When we hit our forties and fifties, though, that's when many men and women start to notice that their teeth are taking on a brownish or yellow shade.

Dentin, comes into the picture and it may not be a pretty one , at all. Dentin is the softer part of your teeth, that is located just inside the enamel. With the passage of time, the enamel gets thinner , due to brushing and various other factors . Thinner enamel allows more of the dentin to show through, over the years . When natural or artificial light reflects on your teeth, the discoloration and staining is magnified. 

General wear and tear such as grinding your teeth and chewing, ( hey, we all have to eat), will greatly affect the appearance of ones' teeth. Smoking has a decidedly negative affect on how your teeth look. Tobacco stains are among the worst stains that you can have.
Beverages that contain really intense color pigments are major villains in the fight to keep your teeth white. The residue from coffee, tea, dark-colored colas and red wine will attach themselves to our enamel and then ,look out !
It may surprise you, but some of the most good for you fruits and veggies can contribute to staining those pearly whites. Beets, purple grapes, mangos and oranges top the list. Talk to your dental professional. He or she can give you a list of foods and beverages that you should avoid or, at least, cut down on.

Certain medications can affect the shade of your teeth. High blood pressure medicine has this unfortunate side effect as does Tetracycline.

If you've been thinking about scheduling a whitening appointment at your dentist, the good news is that most people are perfect candidates for this process. The caveat here is if you are pregnant. You might want to hold off on that whitening treatment until after the baby has been born.

Professional tooth whitening is highly affordable , as well . That's another big plus.

Why waste your time and money purchasing at-home whitening kits and trays when one trip to the dentist will get the job done in a more thorough and a much safer manner. Who knows what's in some of those on the shelf whitening kits, anyway ? Bleaching trays and whitening products are not cheap, to begin with.

You're a nervous dental patient. You are worried about any possible discomfort when you sit in the dental chair.
Well, just put your mind at ease. Tooth-whitening is a pain and stress free treatment. The worst that you can expect, if you have really sensitive gums, is some minor irritation.

Okay, I'm ready for my close-up! What's the process like of having my teeth whitened? What can I expect ?

It is a simple, no surprises, two-step process. Whitening can usually be performed in a single appointment. However, for extreme cases of stained teeth and discoloration, two visits may be necessary.

Before having your teeth whitened, it is absolutely vital that you get a thorough cleaning and polishing.
Don't confuse the two; a polishing is NOT a whitening or bleaching treatment.

A polishing or Prophylaxis treatment entails having any food debris, plaque and tartar that has built up on your teeth, removed. Usually performed by the office hygienist, an ultra sonic device will be used. It gently vibrates and squirts water. You might even enjoy the ticklish sensations. It's almost like a soothing massage. This is called scaling.
You may be interested to know that , in Greek, Prophylaxis means to safeguard or prevent.

Next up is the actual polishing. This is done by means of a motorized instrument that holds a small rubber cap that is filled with a material similar to toothpaste. The paste is gently spun around your teeth to make them smooth and shiny. Most dentists have paste available in different flavors, from mint to cherry or strawberry.

After your polishing, try rolling the tip of your tongue over your teeth. They won't feel so rough or gritty, anymore.

Now that your teeth have had the cleaning of a lifetime, the process of bleaching or whitening can finally begin.

During your consultation, your dentist will go over a standard shade guide with you. This color chart serves a dual purpose. The whitening guide will help you to pick out what shade you want to achieve on your teeth. Basically, this guide measures tooth color.
The chart, though, also helps your dentist to determine just how effective the whitening treatment was and whether or not a follow-up treatment is needed. The duration of your visit will be in the neighborhood of one hour.

Prior to starting the bleaching, the dentist will apply a protective substance to your gums so that they won't be irritated by the whitening materials.

Whitening procedures utilize a highly concentrated peroxide gel that is applied directly to your teeth. A laser is then used to activate the gel. The heat from the lasers' light makes the process go faster, as it assists the gel in removing the stains.

The newer, professional materials and techniques that your dentist has at his disposal are much less potentially harmful to your enamel, than materials that were used back in the day. Again, that's why it is always better to have your teeth whitened under professional supervision and conditions.
Using an at-home kit, with your next door neighbor giving you step by step advice is not the way to go.

You may, however, be able to use one of the American Dental Association approved home whitening kits to MAINTAIN the bleaching treatment you received at your dentist. Talk to your dental professional and see what he or she advises. And then, get ready to enjoy that gleaming smile and bask in the compliments that you will receive. 

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