One of the simplest things you can do to improve the appearance of your smile is to whiten your teeth. Discolored teeth give an impression that you are old and that your teeth are unhealthy.

There are many teeth whitening options you can choose from, and it often makes sense to start with the simplest and work your way up to stronger solutions. Here is a good progression to follow to make sure you get the whitening you want.

Taking Care of Your Teeth

attractive woman smiling while the sunlight, shining behind herThe health and beauty of your teeth go hand in hand. If you make sure you are taking proper care of your teeth,  you will help to whiten them. Make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing every day. This will remove plaque and food debris from your teeth, helping them to avoid staining.

Don’t forget professional cleanings. Every six months, a professional cleaning removes tartar, which is hardened plaque from your teeth. We also polish your teeth, removing many surface stains and brightening your smile.

Over-the-Counter Whiteners

If taking good care of your teeth isn’t getting them white enough, it might be time to seek out dedicated whitening. Over-the-counter whiteners are safe and effective when used as recommended. Choose one that seems easy to use. If you can’t use the system properly, you are more likely to get unsatisfactory results.

Follow the instructions carefully and you will likely see some degree of success with this type of whitener. However, there are several potential problems we see related to at-home whiteners, including:

  • Gum irritation
  • Uneven whitening
  • Insufficient whitening

If you get whitener on your gums, they can become irritated, usually red and painful. They may bleed. This could be the result of the whitener trays and strips, which often allow whitener to leak out or come in direct contact with your gums.

Uneven whitening often occurs when a tray doesn’t fit properly on your teeth so that not all get exposed to the whitening solution. Whitening strips are even harder to use uniformly. This means that part of your smile gets whitened, but some doesn’t. The result of partly white teeth with dark stains on them doesn’t strike most people as an attractive look.

Finally, over-the-counter whiteners just aren’t very strong. They might not be able to remove all the stains from wine, coffee, chocolate, berries, and more foods and beverages that stain your teeth. However, never use multiple home whiteners at the same time. They are not designed to be used together, and this can be harmful to your teeth.

Professional Whitening

Professional teeth whitening is a great solution if your home whitening efforts aren’t giving you the results you want.

At BKS Dental in Fort Atkinson, we use Opalescence teeth whitening. This is a take-home system, similar to your own efforts, but it has several advantages that help it get better results for you

First, Opalescence uses stronger whitening compounds than over-the-counter whiteners. This helps it get better results on the toughest tooth stains. Second, Opalescence uses professionally fitted whitening trays. This keeps whitener from leaking out onto your gums. This helps you avoid gum irritation. The whitening trays also keep whitening compound in even contact with your teeth. As a result, you will get even results.

Opalescence whitening takes about two weeks to achieve maximum whiteness. After that, you can maintain your bright smile with periodic refresher treatments at home with the same kit. Sometimes, though, even professional whitening doesn’t give the desired results. In that case, you might need an even stronger solution.

Porcelain Veneers

If professional whitening isn’t giving your teeth the brightness you’re looking for, the problem is likely in your teeth. It may be that your tooth enamel is keeping your smile from becoming as white as possible.

People have different colored tooth enamel. Some people’s enamel is whiter than others. Sometimes, your enamel might have defects that show up when  you whiten your teeth. These could be demineralizations or other problems that become more visible when the rest of the tooth is whiter. Finally, your enamel might just be too thin. Enamel is translucent, which means that it lets light through. If the light reaches the deeper layers of the tooth, called the dentin, the brownish or yellowish color can show through.

In these cases, whitening will not give you the results you want and you will want to cover your teeth with veneers in order to achieve the whitening you want. Although this is more expensive, it comes with benefits. Veneers provide you with whitening that can last for a decade or more, but also provide you with an opportunity to fix other cosmetic problems at simultaneously. If your teeth are small, worn, chipped, cracked, crooked, or gapped, veneers can fix that at the same time as whitening.

Get the Bright Smile You Desire in Fort Atkinson

If you are unhappy with your discolored teeth, we can help. Our Fort Atkinson team has options to help you achieve the results that will make you happy to show off your attractive, youthful-looking smile.

To learn more about the whitening options we offer, please call (920) 563-7323 or use our online form today to request an appointment at BKS Dental in Fort Atkinson.