It is no secret that tobacco stains the teeth and leads to a wide range of serious health problems. Patients who are looking to brighten teeth discolored by tobacco can benefit from teeth whitening at our Philadelphia, PA dental practice.
Here, Dr. Bruce Wilderman and our team at Artistic Expressions Dentistry discuss teeth whitening and smoking and explain how patients can achieve the brighter, more dazzling smile they desire.
How Tobacco Stains Teeth
Just like your skin, the teeth have pores. When you smoke, the tar and nicotine is absorbed into these pores. As a result, the enamel becomes stained yellow or brown.
While nicotine itself is colorless, it turns yellow when combined with oxygen. Because of this, electronic cigarettes can stain the teeth as well.
Individuals who use chewing tobacco typically develop dark brown stains. These develop as a result of the tobacco mixing with saliva. In addition, most chewing tobacco users leave the substance against the teeth for prolonged periods of time, resulting in heavy staining.
Why Are Tobacco Stains Hard to Remove?
In most cases, tobacco-related stains are stubborn due to years of smoking. Tobacco stains can penetrate through the enamel and affect the dentin underneath.
There are two primary types of tobacco stains, including those near the gum line and those around the edges of the teeth. In the sections below, we will explore each of these.
Stains near the Gum Line
If you notice stains near the gum line, there is a good chance you may have gum recession. This condition occurs when the gums pull away from the teeth, exposing more of the root surfaces. Because the roots are not covered with enamel, they are more prone to staining.
Stains around the Edges of the Teeth
Tartar accumulates on the edges of the teeth. If not removed, the tartar buildup will quickly absorb tobacco stains. To reduce this type of staining, floss more often and visit your dental hygienist regularly.
Treating Tobacco-stained Teeth
This type of discoloration typically responds well to professional teeth whitening. At our practice, we offer three brands of whitening treatment, including:
- Zoom!®: One of the most effective and fastest whitening methods, Zoom! is available in our office or as a take-home kit. Our in-office treatment can lighten your natural teeth up to eight shades in a single appointment.
- Brite Smile®: Another popular option, Brite Smile can brighten your smile up to nine shades in just one hour. Patients who choose a take-home kit can achieve dramatic results in the comfort of their own home. Generally, take-home bleaching takes a few weeks to achieve the desired results.
- KöR Whitening: Suitable for patients with tooth sensitivity, the KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching System eliminates stains with a penetrating hydrogen peroxide gel.
How to Prevent Future Staining
Of course, the best way to prevent tobacco stains is to kick the habit for good. However, if it is not the right time for you to do so, there are a few other things you can do as well:
- Use a fluoride toothpaste to protect your smile.
- Brush and floss daily.
- Visit your dentist for regular examinations and cleanings.
Contact Artistic Expressions Dentistry
If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening at our practice, schedule a visit with Dr. Wilderman. Contact us today.