In the past decade, teeth whitening has become cheaper, safer, and more effective — especially when it comes from the professionals. The more popular it gets, however, and the more often it’s mentioned my Instagram influencers, Youtubers, and the like, the more misconceptions can go rampant. Some of these misconceptions might even push those looking for a brighter smile to harmful alternative whitening methods like charcoal toothpaste.

Today, we’re here to clear things up. If you’re one of many out there considering tooth whitening, then this is the guide for you.

How Teeth Are Stained

Yellow teeth aren’t simply a sign of aging. Teeth become stained due mostly to diet and dirty habits like smoking. Unlike what most people believe, our tooth enamel isn’t flat and smooth. It actually contains many natural ridges and pockets. As we consume food and drink that contains staining agents, like coffee or berries, these staining agents become trapped in our enamel and eventually stain our teeth. This is known as extrinsic staining. The most common staining agents are coffee, wine, soda, and alcohol. Cigarettes and other types of smoking are also a big no no. If you regularly consume these foods, then chances are the majority of stains present on your teeth are extrinsic.

How Teeth Whitening Works

Teeth whitening is a chemical process that works by exposing your teeth to a concentrated chemical solution, usually in the form of peroxide, which then breaks down staining molecules trapped in the ridges of your enamel. Professional whitening is preferable because the strength of the whitening solution is much more powerful in a dental office, because the dentist and hygienist are trained to work with these materials. If you’re looking for the most dramatic results possible, combining an in-office whitening with take-home whitening trays is recommended. This will also ensure your results last longer.

Are There Alternatives?

Teeth whitening is mostly for extrinsic stains. Intrinsic stains caused by enamel defects, medications, or other reasons will not be effective. Often antibiotics can change the color of dentin in teeth, which cannot be fixed by whitening. If you’re suffering from intrinsic stains, dental veneers is a good solution. Dental veneers can also correct teeth that are misshapen, and can fill in gaps as well.

If you’re considering teeth whitening, then it’s time to schedule an appointment. The best way to determine whether you’re a good candidate is by speaking with your dentist.

To learn how cosmetic dentistry can give you a smile that you’ll love and be happy to share, please call 212-557-8668 today for an appointment Columbus Circle cosmetic dentist Dr. Karthilde Appolon.