Need a whiter smile?

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Is that yellow smile impacting your self-esteem at work? Home?

Good news! The 92nd Medical Group dental clinic offers an internal bleaching treatment to adjust discolored teeth in a way that matches the rest of your smile.

"Internal bleaching is a procedure we perform under relatively specific circumstances," said Capt. Brian Blackwell, a 92nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron general dentist. "Teeth that have had a root canal or have been traumatized and subsequently often discolor over time from the inside of the tooth form what is called, intrinsic staining."

This type of staining results from internal factors on the tooth. Extrinsic staining is another type caused by external factors such as smoking, coffee or tea. Extrinsic staining can often be removed or reduced by cleaning the teeth or by whitening the teeth with bleaching agents, while intrinsic staining can affect only one tooth.

"Having one discolored tooth tends to stand out a lot more than all of one's teeth being discolored, so this procedure was developed to help reduce intrinsic staining within a tooth and get a better shade match to the surround teeth," Blackwell said. "This procedure is mainly esthetic in nature but people are often very conscious of their teeth and this can have an effect on self-esteem and social interaction."

Blackwell said procedures like this are fairly simple and can greatly improve a patient's self-esteem.

"I think it's great to be able to provide these procedures for our Airmen," he said.

The Air Force has more than 300,000 Airmen, along with their families, posted around the world, and they all receive top-notch dental care free for the active duty member and relatively inexpensive for the families.

"That freedom makes practicing dentistry much more enjoyable and makes us feel like we are providing our patients with the best overall treatment," relished Blackwell.