Teeth Whitening

Erasing Teeth Stains and Discolorations

Although tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it can still accumulate stains or become discolored over time. Professional teeth whitening systems provide an inexpensive and effective solution for many types of teeth stains, they are not appropriate for every type. West Des Moines cosmetic dentist, Dr. James Hawks, explains the two primary categories of tooth stains:

  • Extrinsic stains. These stains are the result of external sources, such as the food and drinks you consume or lifestyle habits, like smoking, that you engage in. Extrinsic stains accumulate over time. For instance, a cup of coffee will leave only the barest trace of discoloration on your enamel. However, after years of regular coffee drinking, your teeth will take on a profoundly yellowish hue. Other notoriously staining foods and drinks include red wine, tea, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and tomato sauce. Extrinsic stains respond extremely well to professional teeth whitening.
  • Intrinsic stains. These stains develop from within a tooth and, unfortunately, do not respond to professional teeth whitening. The primary causes for intrinsic staining include overconsumption of fluoride while the teeth are developing, medications like tetracycline, internal damage to a tooth, and some root canal therapies. Cosmetic bonding and porcelain veneers are two very effective methods for masking intrinsic stains.

Choosing an Option that’s Right for You

Dr. Hawks offers two kinds of teeth whitening solutions in his office. At-home whitening is the most popular option. First, Dr. Hawks takes impressions of your teeth and uses these to create a customized set of whitening trays. Next, he sends you home with tubes of professional strength whitening gel. You fill the trays with the gel and wear as recommended by your dentist. You will notice results immediately with the full effects visible within 7-10 days.

Brighten Your Smile with Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening can brighten your smile quickly and in a manner that best fits your busy schedule. To find out which system is right for you, call our dental office in West Des Moines, IA, at (515) 225-6665. Since 1985, Dr. Hawks has proudly served the residents of West Des Moines, as well as Urbandale, Johnston, Waukee, Grimes, and all surrounding communities since 1985.