Teeth Whitening for Smokers By Alex Hecht on July 15, 2020

digital rendering of stained, discolored teethThe effects of tobacco use are well-known. Not only does it have a significant negative impact on your oral and overall health, but it can also stain the teeth, leaving your smile yellowed and dull.

Dentists Alex and Jason Hecht offer teeth whitening for smokers at our Staten Island, NY, practice. In this article, we will explore how smoking affects your teeth and what you can do to keep your smile looking great for years to come.

How Smoking Affects Your Smile

Smoking stains are a bit different from the discoloration that occurs after consuming dark-colored foods or drinks. For example, after eating, patients can gently swish with water to reduce the potential for staining because the discoloration stays at the surface. With smoking, however, the stains settle deeper into the dental layers, penetrating the enamel and affecting the dentin underneath. For this reason, tobacco stains can be stubborn and difficult to eliminate.

Does Teeth Whitening Address Stains Caused by Smoking?

The good news is that teeth whitening generally works on stains caused by smoking. Many of our patients at our Staten Island office ask us about over-the-counter teeth whitening. These products can still work, but oftentimes they provide uneven or splotchy results. For the process to work properly, the whitening gel must remain in constant contact with the enamel during treatment. That is why professional teeth whitening is superior to store-bought products.

How the Process Works

Professional teeth whitening can be completed a couple of different ways. First, your dentist may offer in-office bleaching. During this process, a barrier is placed to protect your gums and a whitening gel is applied evenly to the teeth. The gel is left in place for approximately 15 minutes before it is rinsed off. This process is repeated three or four times, until the desired shade is achieved.

Dentist-supervised at-home bleaching is also an option. If you choose this type, your doctor will fabricate a set of custom whitening trays and provide you with the appropriate bleaching gel. You can then whiten your teeth gradually at home by following the instructions provided by your dentist. This option may take a few weeks to complete, but results are just as dramatic as in-office whitening. During a consultation at our practice, we can help determine which option is right for you.

Keeping Your Smile Bright between Visits

Once you have undergone professional teeth whitening, there are a few other habits you can adopt to maintain your results. For example:

  • Brush your teeth after smoking. This helps remove tobacco and tar immediately, decreasing the chance for staining. It will also help reduce the risk of gum disease and other oral health problems.
  • Practice excellent oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once daily to reduce the risk of stains. 
  • Choose an appropriate mouthwash. Ask your dentist for recommendations. Several formulas are specially designed for smokers to help fight gum disease and bad breath.
  • Visit your dentist regularly. It is important to schedule routine exams and cleanings so your dentist can detect problems before they start.

Of course, the best way to keep your smile bright and healthy is to stop smoking. If you are looking for an opportunity to do so, now is a good time to kick the habit for good.

Contact Us for More Details

Has smoking made your smile lackluster? Ask one of our team members about teeth whitening for smokers. Contact us online anytime or give our Staten Island office a call at (718) 705-4434.

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