Easter is upon us and we’ll soon be surrounded by dozens of dyed Easter eggs. “Egg”stra colorful stains are great for Easter eggs but definitely not something you want to see in your smile. Surprisingly enough, though, the same fundamentals that allow us to make those colorful Easter eggs are behind the unattractive stains on your teeth as well.
Your teeth and the shells of those eggs are both made of stone-like minerals containing mostly calcium. Bird eggshells are made of calcium carbonate, while dental enamel is formed from calcium phosphate. Both of these materials are classified as composites because they are actually not pure calcium carbonate or phosphate. They contain additional components that are softer, and allow the mineral-like crystals to bond together into a rigid structure.
In both cases, acquiring surface stains happens on both these surfaces in much the same way. First, foreign material like food, coffee, tea (or in the case of an Easter egg colored dye) comes in contact with the surface and start to accumulate; forming a thin layer or membrane of film on those surfaces. Over time, the foreign material in that layer seeps into the porous layer of enamel (or the egg shell). While the stains are basically harmless, many people find them unattractive.
Fortunately, there are now numerous safe and effective methods for removing those unattractive stains from your teeth and giving you the white, bright smile you desire. Most of these use one of two chemical agents – carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide to create an oxidation reaction that bleaches the tooth enamel and breaks apart the staining compounds.
As your oral healthcare providers, we’re happy to provide you with the information and advice you need to determine which option or combination of options would work best in your, personal, situation.
In office bleaching, often called chairside bleaching, can usually be done in one visit. During your time with us, we will apply a protective shield to your gums and then proceed with a bleaching agent.
At Aspen Grove Dental we’ve recently introduced a more advanced tooth whitening strip which we first apply in office. Subsequent treatments are then applied by you at home.
You may also opt to have a custom mouthpiece created which you can then use for in-home bleaching. This solution involves wearing the mouthpiece for several hours a day or overnight for up to two weeks and can be replicated as new stains appear.
There are also many over–the-counter tooth whitening products available on the market today. As with any oral hygiene product, we recommend that you look for the ADA Seal for safe whitening toothpastes and strips and other products.