Over time we may notice that our once white teeth become stained and yellow looking. Age plays a role in this occurring, as well as diet, genes and habits. Having discolored teeth can begin to affect a person’s self esteem, as they become self conscious of their teeth and become uncomfortable socializing.
Prevent Discoloration of Your Teeth
To prevent discoloration of your teeth avoid eating and drinking foods that are known to stain teeth and have regular professional teeth cleanings.
The good news is that tooth discoloration is largely preventable and easily corrected in most cases. Generally, teeth whitening procedures can correct many staining issues. For heavily stained teeth, veneers might be a good option as well.
Treatment of Stained or Discolored Teeth
Treatment will depend on the cause of the staining. Discoloration and stains on teeth can be from an external source or it can come from the inside of the tooth. Stains that are from an external source might be from smoking or consuming excessive amounts of certain foods, such as coffee, tea, soda, berries, etc.
Internal staining can be the result of trauma to a tooth, excessive fluoride exposure or tetracycline exposure in childhood, or from genetic dental malformations.
Treating stained teeth depends on the type and cause of discoloration and what the patient expects and desires from treatment. An evaluation from the dentist will reveal why your teeth are discolored and what your best treatment options are. If the staining is an external problem, generally tooth whitening or bleaching can produce satisfactory results.
Simple stains can often be removed by a hygienist with a professional cleaning and polishing. More resistant stains can be treated with a few different tooth whitening options. Teeth can be whitened using methods in the dental office as well as having trays made and doing at home treatments yourself.
If your teeth are severely stained, or if the staining is an internal problem, veneers or crowns can be a good, permanent option.
Whitening is a less expensive option. However, it’s effects will fade with time and thus it must be maintained to keep the teeth white. It is less invasive as there is no reduction of tooth structure required. Also, it will only address the color of your teeth. It cannot address any mis-shaped teeth or gaps between the teeth.
Veneers are a permanent option. They are minimally invasive as they do require a small amount of tooth structure to be removed. However there are options for veneers that require no tooth reduction. Your dentist will know if you are a candidate for this option. Veneers can also address a mis-shaped tooth or close any gaps between the teeth. Veneers are of course more costly than teeth whitening, but they are a permanent solution as well. And they are often the best solution for teeth that are discolored from the inside out.
To prevent stained teeth, avoid smoking and consuming staining foods and drinks. Avoid using abrasive toothpastes and maintain excellent oral hygiene. Visit your dentist at Arbor Dental Group regularly for professional cleanings at least twice a year.