- Discoloration of a Tooth
What causes discoloration of a tooth?Tooth enamel discoloration can be caused by staining, ageing, or chemical damage to teeth. Some of the more common causes of tooth discoloration are medications, coffee, tea or cigarettes. People who drink significant amounts of cola soft drinks can experience similar staining. Damage to the root may also contribute to discoloration. Aside from staining, there are other factors that can affect the color of a tooth. Genetics can play a role. Some people have naturally brighter enamel than others. Disease can also be a factor and certain medications can cause a discoloration of a tooth. If you suspect that there is an underlying medical cause for your tooth discoloration, be sure to inform your cosmetic dentist.
- Advantages of Tooth Whitening
People typically have a tooth whitened to improve their appearance. Teeth that are all of the same bright color are associated with beauty and a healthier lifestyle. When people have a brighter smile, they tend to smile more often and are less self-conscious. In addition, a whiter smile tends to minimize the appearance of facial wrinkles, giving way to a more youthful and energetic appearance. Finally, a whiter smile gives people to whom you are speaking a place to focus on and gives you a friendlier appearance.
- Types of Tooth Whitening Procedures
There are a few tooth whitening procedures available that correct discoloration of the tooth by removing the brown and yellow staining. While each work effectively, there are advantages and disadvantages to each procedure dependent upon your objectives and commitment to the processes. The type of procedures available should be discussed with your cosmetic dentist, and they will recommend the most appropriate tooth whitening procedure for you.Laser Bleaching (In-Office)
Using a laser with a whitening gel, this is an in-office bleaching system. The translucent bleaching gel is applied to the tooth and a laser light is used to activate the crystals to absorb the energy from the light and penetrate the tooth enamel to increase the lightening effect on the tooth. The length of time in the cosmetic dentist’s chair depends on the degree of discoloration you have.Tooth Bleaching (In-Office)
A small amount of the bleaching abrasive is applied to the tooth. This is the most common technique because it costs less, but is most effective for mildly stained teeth. This procedure is sometimes used in conjunction with the in-office laser bleaching if you have severe discoloration (dark gray or purple) or internal tooth staining.Tooth Veneers (In-Office)
Often an alternative to crowns, veneers are very thin pieces of specially-shaped porcelain that are glued over the front of your teeth with little or no anesthesia needed. They are the cure for teeth that are severely discolored, chipped, have small holes or pits, misshapen or crooked, or for the correction of unwanted or uneven spaces. Unlike crowns, veneers won’t require the dentist to remove much of the tooth itself. Veneers are created from an impression taken in your cosmetic dentist’s office. Your custom veneer is then glued directly onto your tooth. Typically costing less than crowns, veneers won’t stain, making veneers a very popular solution for many people seeking that perfect smile. Strong and very durable, veneers last from ten to fifteen years, and come in colors that will brighten dark teeth without the worry of them changing color.Store-Bought Whitening Strips (In-Home)
A whitening strip is fitted over your upper and lower teeth. You’ll wear them for a half hour to one hour once a day depending on the brand. This is the most common technique because it’s easy to use and costs less. The strips are comfortable and have no trouble staying in place. Speaking is slightly awkward while wearing them. While some results may be seen in a couple days, it usually takes one week for the faster strips to one month for the slower systems for you to see the full whitening of your teeth. This procedure is sometimes used in conjunction with the in-office laser bleaching if you have severe discoloration (dark grey or purple) or internal teeth staining.In-Mall Whitening Stores or Stands (In-Store)
This is a newer whitening option but is basically the same as the in-home kits. A custom fitted tray or strips are worn over your teeth. While some results may be seen right away, it is usually recommended that you return to the treatment center weekly to achieve the full whitening of your teeth.