Having a smile you’re proud of can make your summer a whole lot brighter, but getting there isn’t always easy. Like most South Carolina residents wanting to cool off in the summer, sweet tea might taste delicious but can quickly stain your teeth. Same thing with iced coffee, wine, soda, and even watermelon. With so many things working against the shade of your teeth, how are you supposed to achieve the smile you want?

You may have heard of over-the-counter whitening methods or fads such as charcoal toothpaste. If you want a time-tested treatment, however, then professional teeth whitening is your best bet. Not only is it one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures out there, it can improve the shade of your smile by up to eight shades in under an hour.

If you’ve been thinking about getting professional whitening for awhile, but wanted more information, this guide is for you.

teeth whitening

Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?

There are two types of stains that can turn teeth yellow: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic stains are far less common, occurring in the dentin, the layer below the enamel. These stains are caused by medications, genetics, aging, and tooth trauma, and are difficult to correct except with porcelain veneers.

Extrinsic stains are much more common, and are generally caused by the food you eat and the drinks you consume. When your teeth come into contact with a substance high in staining agents, such as coffee, tea, or red wine, these can cling to the natural ridges in our enamel, eventually turning them yellow. Which is why rinsing your mouth with water after having coffee can help prevent stains.

How Does Professional Whitening Work?

Because the most common stains are caused by a buildup of staining agents on the enamel, one of the most effective ways to whiten teeth is by eliminating the staining compounds. This is exactly what teeth whitening does. Using a solution containing substances such as peroxide, as well as a light catalyst to activate the substance, dentist and dental hygienists can dissolve the staining agents, leaving your teeth up to eight shades whiter. When paired with take-home teeth whitening trays, results can be even more dramatic.

Is Teeth Whitening Right For Me?

If you’re hoping to correct stains already present, then most likely teeth whitening will work for you. Some complications could include could include advanced gum disease, which should be treated before any cosmetic procedure.

If you’ve been wondering if teeth whitening is right for you, the best way to determine this is by scheduling an appointment.

For more information on safe, effective, and comfortable teeth whitening, please call (803) 781-9090 or email Smile Columbia Dentistry today for an appointment at our Columbia, South Carolina office.