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How to Achieve Your Brightest, Whitest Smile

Many people find that over time, their teeth have become discolored or otherwise stained. This can be caused by many factors, including age and diet. Patients often come to us hoping to transform their smile from average to Hollywood bright. However, the kind of perfect teeth found in Tinseltown are usually obtained via porcelain veneers, and we know not everyone has that kind of budget! Luckily, there are plenty of less expensive solutions available that can help you be more confident and happy with your smile.

Watch what you eat The biggest culprits that contribute to tooth discoloration are dark foods, especially ones that are acidic. Some of the foods that are most likely to cause problems are coffee, tea, and red wine. We recommend that if you must indulge in these beverages, be sure to brush your teeth immediately after you’re finished to avoid stains setting in. Sodas, especially colas and other dark beverages, are another big cause of staining.

Don’t use tobacco Tobacco will also stain teeth due to its dark color. Smoking or chewing tobacco will both cause stains. Besides staining, tobacco can also cause oral and throat cancer.

Understand that normal aging can cause discoloration As we grow older, our teeth often develop secondary dentin (the whitish substance which makes up the bulk of a tooth) which can cause discoloration over time.

Be aware of medication’s side effects When given to children whose teeth are still developing (under age 8), tetracycline and doxycycline can both cause tooth discoloration. Antihistamines, anti-psychotics, and high blood pressure medication can also cause discoloration.

Take care not to over-bleach There are many over-the-counter teeth whitening kits on the market today, and most are very safe. However, before you bleach, know the risks of over-bleaching. Extreme pain can be one result. Minor discomfort that lasts a few days is common, but extreme pain that can last for weeks is unfortunately often the result of over-bleaching teeth. In addition to pain, over-bleaching can cause a very unnatural white look. Remember, no one’s teeth are actually completely bright white. Over-bleaching can also seriously damage your enamel, and that can cause a different kind of discoloration. Never bleach more than once a year, and make sure you always bleach under your dentist’s supervision.

Besides prevention, what can you do to make your smile brighter and whiter?

- Use a whitening toothpaste as part of your regular oral care routine, and brush after every meal or consumption of any staining beverage - See your dentist every six months for professional cleaning and polishing

In addition, Dr. Kotre is happy to answer questions about professional cosmetic dentistry procedures. We offer many options at our office, including:

- In-office teeth whitening/bleaching - At-home teeth whitening/bleaching kits - Lumineers, a type of non-invasive, painless dental veneer - Snap-On Smile, another type of painless veneer - Porcelain dental veneers, for that true Hollywood smile

Please give us a call today at 734-677-2156 for more information about any of our Ann Arbor cosmetic dentistry procedures, or visit our website for more information.


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