It’s well known that food and drinks such as red wine, coffee and some fruit and vegetables are associated with staining teeth, as are lifestyle choices such as smoking and chewing tobacco.
Also well known is the fact that not removing staining substances from the surface of teeth (and poor oral hygiene in general) can cause discolouration. Advancing age is also a factor in darkening teeth — as we grow older the enamel layer of our teeth wears away, revealing the dentin which is more yellow in colour.
But there are also other risk factors that people are less aware of, for example, some medications are known to cause darkening of the teeth, as are certain diseases and medical treatments. It’s also a fact that genetics play a part in how prone you are to tooth discolouration — some people naturally have thicker, brighter enamel than others. Teeth can also become darker after things like dental trauma or excessive exposure to fluoride from water sources or overuse of fluoride-containing toothpaste.
In some cases where only a few teeth are showing minor staining, a deep clean with our hygienist will be enough to significantly improve your appearance. When the overall colour of the teeth is a darker shade than you would like, however, tooth whitening treatment can be used to lighten them by several shades.
We use two home based tooth whitening treatments, Enlighten and Boutique, both high quality products that are totally safe when used under the guidance of our principal dentist Oberah. Boutique is entirely home based whereas with Enlighten the home based phase is followed by a one hour appointment where we complete the last part of the treatment.
Only by undergoing these whitening treatments with a dentist can you be sure that you are not putting your teeth at risk. With both treatments, Oberah will take an impression of your teeth and provide you with a mouthguard that you will need to wear for a certain amount of time every day (or overnight) while the whitening agent is acting on your teeth.
Treatment time can range from a week to a month and the results can last from three months to three years, depending on how well you avoid staining foods and drinks and whether you are a smoker. Whitening treatment can be repeated whenever you feel like your smile needs a freshen up and you can reuse the mouthguard created for your initial treatment.