Sunshine Dental
2525 36 St NE #117 Calgary AB T1Y 5T4 (403) 293-7545
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Calgary, AB

587-317-5881
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Teeth Whitening: Your Guide to a Brighter Smile

Good news if you’re not happy with the shade of your teeth! There are steps you can take to lighten up your smile. Dental shade depends not only on hygiene, but on genetics and medical history as well. If you’re not sure how white your teeth should be, ask your dentist during your dental exam and cleaning

young woman with bright smile

What Colour Should Your Teeth Be?

How white your teeth are depends mostly on the two outermost layers of each tooth. On the surface, there’s the enamel. Underneath is the dentin layer, which makes up most of the volume of the tooth.

Enamel Layer

The natural colour of your teeth, not accounting for hygiene or diet, depends on how transparent the enamel layer is, and how healthy the dentin layer is underneath. The transparency of your enamel can depend on your genetics. That means, even if your enamel layer is thick enough, it might portray the dentin layer naturally!

Dentin Layer

The normal healthy colour of the layer underneath the enamel, a softer layer making up most of the tooth’s volume, tends to be yellow. In some cases, this layer may be dark and discoloured, which can be caused by several dental conditions such as a genetic condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta. This discoloration may also be caused by certain medications taken during early tooth development.

In some cases, a discoloured tooth may have become non-vital, rendering the dentin layer to darken and discolour, which will show through the enamel layer to some degree.

What’s the Healthiest Shade of Teeth?

For most people, an off-white to a slightly yellow shade of teeth is considered the best result of regular dental cleanings, good hygiene, and diet. Whiter teeth don’t necessarily mean better oral health. However, if you are trying to undo damage from staining or dental trauma, a dentist can advise on whether to whiten your teeth and how much to whiten them.

Pinpointing the Ideal Dental Shade

As long as your dental health is in order, cosmetic dentistry is something you can consider, but bear in mind, ideal dental shade is subjective; beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say. Have a dentist help you find a balance between health and cosmetics.

Common Causes of Tooth Discolouration

elderly people enjoying a glass of red wine at dinner

If your teeth used to be whiter than they are now, and you haven’t had any trauma you can recall, wear and tear might be the cause. Remember, enamel can be worn away, revealing the yellowish dentin layer beneath.

Wear and Tear

Wear and tear on your teeth can be expected as time goes by. But aside from enamel wear, there are other processes called extrinsic and intrinsic staining that can discolour your teeth.

Staining

Extrinsic stains involve pigmentation from food affecting the surface of your enamel layer. Intrinsic stains ultimately affect the dentin layer. That might mean pigments working past the enamel layer or Intrinsic stains stemming from issues with the tooth’s roots.

Causes of Staining

Diet

Some foods contain pigments that can work past the enamel layer. Foods containing such extrinsic or intrinsic staining pigments include red wine, coffee, tea, cola, red fruits, soy sauce, and berries

Oral Habits

Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause extrinsic and ultimately intrinsic stains in teeth as well, working past the enamel to stain the teeth brown or black.

Water Sources

High fluoride content in your local water supply can cause intrinsic yellow staining in children. This may happen in un-regulated water supplies such as farm well water. Fluoride amounts at recommended levels in the water supply will not cause these issues, and will in fact help strengthen the teeth and reduce the chance of getting tooth decay.

Tooth Decay & Trauma

Cavities discolour the dentin layer through decay. If you experienced a dental injury, you might have injured the root, which provides nutrients to the dentin layer, meaning an affected tooth’s dentin layer might have died and taken on a grey or black colour.

Other Ways

If your mother took certain antibiotics when you were in-utero, you might have picked up an intrinsic discolouration as you grew.

Ageing

Our teeth inevitably darken with age, from inside out and outside in. How much they darken depends on all the other factors we’ve discussed. This is a normal transition even in a healthy dentition, but the degree of darkening with age can vary from person to person.

Home Whitening Agents

Toothpastes, gels, chewing gums that come over the counter typically work as an extrinsic stain remover, meaning they can tackle surface stains caused by your diet and oral hygiene habits.

Some whitening toothpastes and chewing gums contain abrasive particles, so they work by wearing out your enamel along with the surface stain. If you rub away the surface of your tooth, you’re trading extrinsic staining for intrinsic staining. Don’t throw out the good with the bad!

Professional Teeth Whitening for a Brighter Smile

Whitening through professional cosmetic dentistry is your best bet. Professional services, including bleaching, can tackle both extrinsic and intrinsic staining while preserving the health of your enamel and dentin layers.

Bonds & Veneers

Your dentist might make a call to put a composite bond over a discoloured tooth that’s also been chipped and cracked, and the shade can be chosen to lighten that area slightly. 

Veneers are a thin-shelled ceramic or composite covering that covers the outer surface of the tooth. This way, the shade can be chosen with a brighter smile in mind.

Vital Bleaching and Non-vital Bleaching

Vital bleaching is the application of an approved bleaching agent to living teeth, so intrinsic and surface stains that aren’t from decay or injury can be lightened with this method. 

Non-vital bleaching lightens dentin affected by intrinsic staining due to ageing, trauma, or decay from the inside out.

Teeth Whitening & Health

Have your teeth declared healthy by your dentist before you consider teeth whitening. Once this is done, your dental professional can discuss all the different types of teeth whitening procedures and which one would be best for you. Your dental team can help achieve that beautiful bright smile you’re looking for!

Finding Us Is Easy

Located in Sunridge Mall, NE Calgary

Visit us in the Lower Level of Sunridge Mall in NE Calgary. We are next door to Old Navy and the West Mall Entrance, with direct outside access from the parking lot. We offer direct insurance billing. We handle all the paperwork, so you don’t have to!

Open evenings and weekends for your convenience.

Address

#117 2525 36 Street NE
Calgary , T1Y5T4

Contact Information

Phone: 587-317-5881
Email: sunshinedental@shaw.ca

Hours

Monday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday
Closed

Our Location

Visit us in the Lower Level of Sunridge Mall in NE Calgary. We are next door to Old Navy and the West Mall Entrance, with direct outside access from the parking lot. We offer direct insurance billing. We handle all the paperwork, so you don’t have to!

Open evenings and weekends for your convenience.

Located in Sunridge Mall, NE Calgary

#117 2525 36 Street NE
Calgary , T1Y5T4

Contact Information

Phone: 587-317-5881
Email: sunshinedental@shaw.ca
Monday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday
Closed

The Process is Simple

Request an
Appointment

Call or come see us. We’ll schedule you in for a time that works for you.

Get Your
Consultation

One of our general dentists will take a look and evaluate your oral health.

Request
Your Treatment

We'll work with you to schedule the next steps to get you on your way to a healthy and beautiful smile.

Enjoy
Direct Billing

Leave all the paperwork to us. We deal with all insurance companies so you don't have to. We also direct bill and take insurance assignment.

The Process is Simple

Request an
Appointment

Call or come see us. We’ll schedule you in for a time that works for you.

Get Your
Consultation

One of our general dentists will take a look and evaluate your oral health.

Request
Your Treatment

We'll work with you to schedule the next steps to get you on your way to a healthy and beautiful smile.

Enjoy
Direct Billing

Leave all the paperwork to us. We deal with all insurance companies so you don't have to. We also direct bill and take insurance assignment.

Request an Appointment

Submit a form to request an appointment, someone will be in contact within 24 hours to book.