Staying home a lot more in the past couple of years made it easy to sip on coffee all day. Now that we’re all out and about again, we realize that this has resulted in very stained teeth and trying to use over-the-counter whitening toothpastes, gels, strips, pens, or trays is not very effective. Los Angeles dentist Dr. Shervin Louie, can help you get back that gleaming smile.
But first, you need to understand how stains occur. Enamel, the hard outer layer of teeth, resists stains when it is smooth, but if you have a dry mouth, due to lack of protective saliva or as a side-effect of medications, enamel can begin to erode. Acid reflux can also harm it, as can drinking acid drinks, like sodas. You can counter these by drinking more water (especially after sodas), using an oral rinse for dry mouth, chewing sugar-free gum that stimulates saliva, and reducing the amount of spicy and salty food you consume.
Enamel can also be weakened by periodontal bacteria, which are sticky and capture dark pigments, so it is also important to be diligent about brushing for two minutes after breakfast and dinner and flossing after your last snack each and every day. If you have had dental work, such as veneers, crowns, and fillings, pay attention to the edges, which may be rough and more vulnerable to coffee and other staining agents (like tea, red wine, blueberries, and tomatoes). You may need to ask Dr. Louie to smooth those areas. Also have your dental hygienist do a professional cleaning twice a year.
An electric toothbrush can smooth rough surfaces, and some toothpastes may be helpful, especially those with fluoride, the amino acid arginine, amorphous calcium phosphate, or nanohydroxyapatite.
You can also upgrade the shade of your teeth by having Dr. Louie provide a professional whitening, which involves relaxing in a dental chair and listening to music or watching a video for an hour while a dental bleach is applied to the teeth and activated with a special light, while up to eight shades of darkening are removed. It is advisable to do this once a year to maintain a gleaming smile and it is helpful to use a professional grade whitening kit we provide at home for touch-ups in between.
For really tough cases, where whitening products and processes do not reach your goals, dental veneers applied to the front of teeth can solve the problem.
Set an appointment today for a full dental exam in Los Angeles and Larchmont Village to find out what your best options are for a smile that will make you proud to flash fully every time you meet others, letting them know how truly friendly you are.
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