The natural color of your teeth is not actually white.  Teeth are typically a shade of either yellow or gray, and tooth color varies from person to person.  Dr. Stephen Coker offers teeth whitening treatments to brighten your smile and provide a quick and effective improvement to your teeth.  We invite you to call Parkway Dental at 919-380-9622 to learn more about teeth whitening in Cary, North Carolina, and make your appointment with Dr. Coker.

There are many reasons why teeth can become discolored.  The major reasons include:

  • Diet – Drinking tea, coffee, red wine or other food and drink with strong colorings
  • Smoking – Smoking can result in teeth appearing a yellowish color
  • Age – As people grow older their teeth can become darker naturally
  • Tooth decay, fillings and tartar build-up can cause discoloration
  • Trauma – Teeth have nerves and blood vessels inside them. If these nerves and blood vessels are damaged the tooth may become darker – even several years after the trauma.
  • Medication – Staining can be caused by diseases or medicines. Tetracycline, an antibiotic, will cause a distinct discoloration if given to a child whose adult teeth are still developing.

There are many simple ways to improve the appearance of discolored teeth.  For example:

  • Regular cleaning to remove the plaque and tartar.
  • Regular tooth brushing
  • Stop smoking
  • Reducing the intake of food and drink that are strongly colored such as coffee, tea, red wine, etc.
  • Professional whitening

Whitening toothpastes claim to whiten teeth, but they do so at an expense. They vary from slightly abrasive to very abrasive. They may appear to make your teeth whiter by removing stains, but some are abrasive enough to remove enamel, which makes these toothpastes a very poor long-term solution.

There are a number of procedures provided by dentists to whitening teeth.  These procedures are fairly simple to perform, and can almost always be completed in one or two visit to our office.  Types of whitening include in-office whitening, external whitening, internal whitening, and at home whitening.

How long will whitening last? 
Since the results vary from patient to patient there is no firm answer. We do know that teeth tend to become darker as time passes, so touch-up treatments are occasionally needed to keep the teeth lightened. Your eating, drinking, smoking and home care habits definitely have an effect on how long the treatment lasts. Remember that the base shade of teeth is yellow or white and that we cannot whiten this base color. However, most patients are very satisfied with the results of whitening treatments.

Are there side effects?
You may experience a few side effects as a result of your treatment.  Some patients report a temporary increase in sensitivity. Tender gums are also a known side effect especially if you are whitening at home and use too much of the whitening solution. Remember that a little is good, and a lot will not make your teeth any whiter.

Who can receive teeth whitening treatments?
Not everyone is a candidate for teeth whitening.  There is no whitening solution for most dental work such as fillings, crowns, veneers, or partial or full dentures. If the color of your teeth matches the color of your dental work before whitening, the color of your teeth will most likely be different from the color of your dental work after whitening. You are making a commitment to replacing those restorations if you whiten your teeth. We typically wait a few weeks after any whitening treatment to replace these restorations since we want to match the new color and we want the color to stabilize before choosing a color for the new restorations.

Your gums must also be healthy and any decay must be treated since both of these can be a cause of sensitivity during whitening treatments.

Teeth whitening is not recommended for children whose teeth are still developing or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

For more information about teeth whitening, please contact our office today.