Patient having their teeth checked to match whiteness level

Teeth Whitening in St. Albert

Let’s face it – we all want our teeth to look as good as possible. With so much focus on the esthetic appearance of our teeth, we look to make them straighter, shapelier, and often try whitening agents to help us showcase the beautiful teeth we’ve worked so hard to achieve and maintain. While whiter teeth may seem easier to achieve when we are young, as we age our habits and lifestyle begin to show their cumulative effects on our health and appearance. So, what do you need to know to ensure that you maintain the most natural shade of teeth, and what options are available to you if you want to whiten? Please contact NUVO to learn more today! All services performed by a general dentist.

Factors Impacting Tooth Shade

If it seems to you that it’s harder to maintain that bright coloured smile than it used to be, you’re likely right. As children, our teeth are often the whitest they will ever be. That’s because as children, once we’ve lost out baby teeth, they are replaced by adult teeth. These adult teeth are enclosed in a strong healthy layer of enamel to protect the inside of the tooth from the effects of decay and other elements, such as the temperature of the foods we eat. As we age, we often begin to consume things that we didn’t as children. Lifestyle choices such as the foods we eat, the beverages we drink and the habits we develop (such as smoking or consuming alcohol) can begin to have an effect on the shade of our teeth. To add to that fact, our dentin can thin over time, and since enamel is translucent, more of the inside of the teeth can begin to show through. The inner tooth structure is made of dentin, and it tends to be more yellow. The effect of thinning enamel is often more apparent in men as they age, since men tend to have larger teeth and therefore more readily show dentin.

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The Food we Eat, and Beverages We Drink

In order to understand the impact of our diet and lifestyle on the colour of the teeth, we should first understand the structure of enamel. While the outside of our teeth may appear to be a smooth surface, when looked at through a microscope we can see that enamel is actually made up of many tiny channels. To understand this, you could envision that the outside of your teeth is made up of outward facing straws, with each straw leading into the inside of the tooth. Since enamel is porous in this way, stainers can gain access into the channels and stain them – this is known as surface staining.

Acidic food and drink are most often responsible for the staining effect on the teeth. The worst offenders include sodas, coffee and tea and red wine. This is because the acidity of the beverages attacks the enamel as we consume them, and enamel takes on staining from their deep colour more readily during an acid attack. In order to prevent the effects of these stainers, we recommend choosing alternatives to these beverages or bypassing the majority of the teeth by using a straw. Think you can avoid acid attack by drinking carbonated water? Unfortunately, the carbonation in this substance is responsible for the attack – so drinking still water is still the better option.

While the food we eat is often not a direct cause of staining, some foods can contribute to staining indirectly by contributing to plaque bacteria overgrowth. When we consume sugar in the form of sweets or carbs such as bread, the bacteria in our mouth begins to feast on the sugars we’ve introduced into the oral cavity. With so much to eat, these bacteria consume the sugars and excrete their waste (in the form of acid) all over the mouth. The more bacteria present, and the longer it is allowed to remain in the mouth before brushing and flossing, the greater the risk of developing plaque and tartar. Like enamel, plaque is quite transparent. That is, until a stainer comes along and deposits its colour. Over time, if tartar is allowed to calcify along the teeth, it can become yellow or brown and make the teeth appear discoloured.

How We Can Help

If you are concerned about the shade of your teeth, consider first how long it’s been since you’ve visited your dentist for a regular cleaning and exam. Surface stains can be gently removed by one of our skilled hygienists and the appearance of the tooth’s surface can be restored. Still looking for a brighter smile? Why not consider professional whitening?

Clinical strength bleaching agents are available through our clinic and offer more effectiveness than the store-bought alternatives. While at-home whitening kits can be effective with time, they often result in too much sensitivity to want to complete the course of treatment. Our dentists use a barrier to prevent whitening solutions from irritating the gum tissue, and desensitizer can be used to rehydrate the tooth after the treatment to promote a more comfortable experience.

If you have questions about what can be done to improve the shade and appearance of your teeth, or about any other services provided by our general dentists, call our clinic today to book a time to speak with us! We look forward to serving you.

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Nuvo Dental

NUVO Dental is dedicated on providing exceptional dentistry services to all of our patients from St. Albert and Edmonton.