Teeth Whitening for Smokers

By Rafael Mercado, DDS on April 08, 2020

Smoking and tobacco use give tooth enamel a dark yellow or brownish appearance. The longer and more often you smoke or use tobacco, the darker your teeth will become.

What if you could simply and quickly whiten your teeth? How would it affect your self-confidence? Teeth whitening can have a positive effect on your smile, overall appearance, and confidence.

At Castle Hills Family Dentistry in San Antonio, TXwe offer effective teeth whitening treatment. Dr. Rafael Mercado offers in-office or at-home treatment that can minimize the appearance of tobacco stains that have built up over the years. Learn more about teeth whitening for smokers.

What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

Tooth enamel is extremely durable, but it’s also porous. A film of protein that coats tooth enamel gradually soaks up staining agents in tobacco and foods. This is what causes what we refer to as extrinsic tooth discoloration.

Extrinsic tooth discoloration occurs on the surface of teeth, rather than within tooth’s structure. Extrinsic stains respond well to safe and strong topical teeth whitening systems that contain hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.

How Whitening Works

Topical teeth whitening relies on safe, potent chemicals to remove stains from tooth enamel. Some brands require that the chemicals be exposed to light for activation, while others do not require this step.

At pharmacies and supermarkets, you can purchase over-the-counter whitening systems in the form of strips, gels, mouthwashes, and toothpastes. These products are moderately effective, but they do not contain the prescription-level of active ingredients that are available in products provided by a dentist.

Teeth Whitening Options at Castle Hills Family Dentistry

As a patient of our San Antonio dental office, you have access to the products that Dr. Mercado believes to be excellent, safe, and highly effective. We use the pola advanced teeth whitening system.

Pola teeth whitening works well for smokers of all ages, but you’ll need a checkup to make sure your gums and teeth are healthy before undergoing dentist-administered teeth whitening treatment.

According to the pola website, over-the-counter teeth whitening products only have up to 3 percent of active ingredients. Dentist-prescribed take-home systems offer up to 25 percent, and in-office treatments can have up to 37 percent of active ingredients.

The pola teeth whitening systems we provide our patients are available in various strengths:

  • Pola Office: This involves one 30-minute treatment in our office, with your gums fully protected. No light activation is required.
  • Poladay for home use: Ideal for those who do not want to wear a bleaching tray overnight. In just 15 minutes per day, this treatment produces dramatic results.
  • Polanight for home use: These trays are intended for wear overnight.

Note that Poladay and Polanight also contain fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel. They have a high water content as well, which protects the gums and helps keep the gel-filled trays securely in place.

Maintain Your Results

If you continue to smoke after undergoing teeth whitening treatment, the teeth can become discolored again. We recommend that patients quit smoking, limit smoking, or maintain good oral hygiene habits to prevent additional tobacco stains.

Schedule Your Teeth Whitening Appointment Now

Call our San Antonio dental office at (210) 405-1257 or contact us online to schedule your teeth whitening treatment.