If you could change one thing about your smile, what would it be? When the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry posed a similar question, the most popular reply they received was that most people wished their teeth were whiter. A healthy-looking, attractive smile is a great self-esteem builder, so it comes as no surprise that people feel their dull or yellowed teeth are a roadblock toward confidence. 

But when it comes to choosing a method for whitening your teeth, how do you know what the best option is? By exploring the different ways that teeth become discolored in the first place, and looking at the best whitening options available today, Locust Valley Dentists can help determine if at-home whitening or professional whitening is right for you.

What Causes Teeth to Become Discolored

There are many factors that can cause your teeth to go from brilliant white, to discolored and dingy. Some of these factors are within areas of our control, others—not so much. Certain habits and predispositions that can lead to tooth discoloration include:

Food and Drink

Food and drinks with intense pigments can stain the teeth if they are consumed often enough or without cleaning the teeth afterward. Blueberries, blackberries, and cherries are just a few foods that can stain your teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, and dark sodas are also well-known tooth-staining beverages.

Use of Tobacco Products

Smoking cigarettes or using chewing tobacco can make the uphill battle of maintaining a beautiful smile even more laborious. Regular use of any tobacco products can discolor the teeth very easily, making your dental health deteriorate at a faster rate. 


We can’t help but age, and we certainly cannot stop it from happening altogether, but that doesn’t mean we have to let the effects of aging be permanent. As we age, the enamel on our teeth starts to wear thin, exposing the softer, more vulnerable dentin layer underneath. This layer of the tooth is more susceptible to staining. Following a healthy diet can strengthen the enamel while engaging in a good oral hygiene routine can prevent staining.

What Can Be Done to Regain a Bright White Smile?

Because so many people wish to have a brilliantly white smile, it may come as no surprise that there is an equally large number of treatment options claiming to restore your pearly white smile. But not all treatments are created equal, especially when broken down into categories like at-home treatments and professional treatments. Let’s take a look at how these treatments differ why one may be better for you than the other.  

Professional Whitening

Professional tooth whitening is done in-office at Locust Valley Dentists. This style of whitening treatment provides painless, same-day results that are more effective and long-lasting than at-home treatment options. 

The process begins with a comprehensive oral exam by Dr. Koster, in which it is determined if you are a good candidate for tooth whitening. The innovative Zoom whitening system uses three different applications of hydrogen peroxide bleaching gel followed by the Zoom high-intensity activating light, to help speed up the bleaching process. To finish, Dr. Koster will apply a fluoride gel to reduce the risk of tooth sensitivity.

Professional teeth whitening allows for more precision and accuracy during the application process, meaning the teeth are whitened evenly and in a way that best suits your desires. 

At-Home Whitening

When choosing to go the “at-home” route to whiten your teeth, it is best to purchase your home whitening kit from the experts at Locust Valley Dentists. Some over-the-counter whitening kits can cause more harm than good by stripping your tooth enamel too thin or creating painful tooth sensitivity. It can also take a series of treatments performed over the course of a couple of weeks to actually see results. When you decide to purchase your kit from Locust Valley Dentists, a comprehensive oral exam is performed to ensure you are a good candidate for tooth whitening and a whitening treatment that ensures your maintained tooth health and comfort is prescribed.

What Teeth Whitening Option is the Best for You?

When deciding which teeth whitening option is best for you, you have many things to consider such as, how long you want to wait for results, what level of privacy you prefer, if your teeth are prone to sensitivity, and what the current state of your oral health is. If you are still unsure about which option you prefer, Dr. Koster at Locust Valley Dentists can help suggest the right whitening treatment for you and your needs.

Schedule a Consultation Today

Locust Valley Dentists is a full-service family dental practice offering general, restorative, cosmetic, and–yes–whitening services. Want that beautiful smile of yours to really shine? Call us today at our Locust Valley, NY office at (516) 759-2288 or use our online contact form.

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