Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic Dentistry Expertise
Teeth Whitening Philadelphia
At the practice of Lindsey F. Marshall, DMD, our goal is to provide all of our patients with the beautiful smiles they deserve. Because one of the most noticeable attributes of an attractive smile is bright, white teeth, we are pleased to offer both in-office and take-home tooth whitening options.
The type of treatment best for your smile will be dependent on the cause and extent of your tooth discoloration. During your initial consultation, Dr. Marshall can assess your smile and determine which Philadelphia tooth whitening solution is best for you.
Teeth whitening is easy and gives you dramatic results. Cosmetic dentist Dr. Lindsey Marshall provides her Philadelphia patients with the safest and most effective treatments rather than just the newest treatments.
Factors That Influence Your Tooth Color
The shade of your tooth enamel may be the result of:
- Eating habits – strongly pigmented foods such as blackberries or blueberries will stain the teeth
- Drinking habits – strongly pigmented drinks such as colas, black tea, coffee, or red wine also stain the teeth
- Smoking habits – nicotine causes yellow staining
- Drugs and chemicals – some will discolor the teeth; if tetracycline is given during childhood, it will embed stains as the teeth develop. This type of staining is deep and harder to remove.
- Genetic factors – we each have an inborn tooth enamel shade
Daily brushing and flossing will remove superficial stains and regular professional cleaning will remove more; but if nothing is done beyond that, our teeth gradually yellow and darken as we age.
Causes of Tooth Discoloration
There are a number of reasons your teeth can darken. Some of the most common causes of tooth discoloration are:
- Coffee, soda, and tea
- Tobacco use
- Poor dental hygiene
These issues will not typically respond to at-home solutions such as whitening toothpastes. Over-the-counter whitening kits may also prove ineffective at completely addressing these types of discoloration. Dr. Marshall offers theZoom! teeth whitening system for these issues to lighten the shade of your teeth by as much as 10 shades in just one hour.
Other causes of tooth discoloration may include:
- Trauma to the tooth
- Gum disease or tooth infection
- Certain medications
This type of darkening or discoloration does not respond to topical tooth whitening solutions. When the cause of your tooth discoloration is one of these factors, Dr. Marshall may recommend options such as tooth whitening with porcelain veneers or dental crowns to cover the tooth and improve its appearance.
Every smile demands individual attention. Dr. Marshall will work closely with you to determine the cause of your tooth discoloration and provide you with the most effective treatment to restore your smile to its most beautiful appearance.
Teeth Whitening Before & After
Professional Tooth Whiteners vs. At-Home Whiteners
There are a number of at-home teeth whitening solutions. Some, such as “whitening toothpastes,” remove surface stains with abrasive ingredients, while others, like “whitening mouthwashes,” use peroxide to remove stains either before or after brushing. Tooth whitening kits in a variety of styles are also readily available at nearly every supermarket in the Main Line area.
Whitening toothpastes contain abrasives or chemicals that may be mildly effective at removing surface stains but at a rather significant cost. These toothpastes can remove tooth enamel, resulting in increased sensitivity and risks for more advanced dental problems.
Despite their prevalence, whitening mouthwashes have never been proved to be effective at improving the color of teeth. Many even contain warnings that they should not be used on teeth that are severely discolored. Mouthwashes with alcohol can also weaken dental bonding used to hold crowns and other restorations in place.
Tooth whitening kits available at the store do not come with customized application trays and, in many kits, application trays or strips only cover front teeth. These inferior application techniques often result in inconsistent results along with increased tooth sensitivity and aggravation of gum tissue. A new study by the Cochran Collaborative has also found that, even when take-home kits whiten teeth, the results are not long-lasting.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
Dr. Marshall uses the Zoom! Teeth Whitening system, marketed by Discus Dental. It is a popular system with cosmetic dentists because it is effective and patients are very happy with the results. In a little over an hour, you can have your teeth brightened by about nine shades and go straight back to work or other daily activities.
The Zoom! system includes a take-home kit for later touch-ups. Some people use it immediately, confident that their teeth can become even whiter than our in-office procedures made them. The choice is yours, and before you leave we will show you how best to use the kit, including how much whitening gel to place in the customized trays.
Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits
Dr. Marshall offers KoR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ take-home kits. Dr. Marshall will have two trays made for you, designed to fit your upper and lower arches exactly. A snug fit is essential to prevent whitening gel from leaking out and to prevent saliva from diluting it.
The kit contains a shade strip where you can mark your Before and After colors. There are several syringes of whitening gel and a little user manual as well as your custom trays.
If you are considering any dental restorations, such as replacing your old metal fillings with tooth-colored fillings, do teeth whitening first so that Dr. Marshall can match your restorations to the new bright tooth color.
Maintaining Your Teeth Whitening Results
After you undergo teeth whitening, it’s important to take steps to maintain your results for as long as possible. Your bright new smile won’t last forever, especially if you return to the habits that caused your teeth to darken in the first place. However, with a little care and attention, you can enjoy your pearly white smile for years to come.
Prevent Tooth Discoloration After Teeth Whitening
One of the best ways you can protect the brightness of your smile is to stop smoking. When you smoke, you can instantly stain your teeth with nicotine, tar, and other chemical additives. There is no way to mask the effects that smoking has on your teeth, and most teeth whitening regimens are insufficient to fully brighten the smiles of smokers. Quitting smoking will do wonders both for your smile and the rest of your body.
In addition to not smoking, you can prevent premature stains by limiting your intake of certain foods and beverages. Sugary snacks and drinks, especially those that are dark in color, will inevitably stain your teeth. By minimizing the amount of stain-causing foods you consume, you can help preserve your smile’s whiteness.
One easy way to limit the staining effect of dark beverages is to drink them through a straw. This will reduce your front teeth’s exposure to the substance, keeping your smile line white and attractive.
The Importance of Dental Hygiene
Your dental hygiene routine will also play a significant role in how long your teeth whitening results last. Be sure to brush your teeth after every meal or snack. You should floss at least once a day, and may wish to rinse your mouth with a whitening mouthwash as well.
Be sure to visit Philadelphia cosmetic dentist Dr. Lindsey Marshall at least every six months for professional cleanings. These cleanings are capable of removing many surface stains and are an essential part of maintaining teeth whitening results. During these appointments, Dr. Marshall can discuss other ways you can keep your teeth looking their brightest.
Do tooth whitening agents alter the color of previous dental work?
No. Dental porcelain and bonding are not affected by tooth whitening agents, and neither are gold alloys or dental amalgam. If you are planning any dental work such as porcelain veneers or tooth-colored fillings, you should have the tooth whitening done first so that Dr. Marshall can match the restoration material to your new tooth color.
What choices are there for effective tooth whitening?
To get it done effectively, avoid over-the-counter kits (the trays will not fit your mouth) and whitening toothpaste (some may contain abrasive ingredients that will remove enamel and end up giving you sensitive teeth). The quickest and most dramatic results come from an in-office procedure with a professional tooth whitening system. Dr. Marshall uses the Zoom! Teeth Whitening System for its speed and effectiveness.
Use of an at-home whitening kit provided by a cosmetic dentist can also be effective if you use it as directed. It takes longer, but offers you more convenience. Dr. Marshall offers a take-home kit and can have your trays custom-made for a snug fit.
Is tooth whitening feasible if you have sensitive teeth?
Yes. Please inform us if your teeth are particularly sensitive. If you choose to have in-office tooth whitening, we can prescribe you treatments to desensitize your teeth before the procedure.
Could the whitening agent damage my teeth?
There are no recorded instances of irreversible or structural damage caused by any tooth whitening methods. You may experience temporary tooth sensitivity, but that is not damaging to the tooth — it just feels a bit uncomfortable.
How quickly are tooth whitening results visible?
You will see immediate results from your in-office tooth whitening. At-home whitening is slower to show results and depends on how often you do the treatment and how consistently.