Years of wear and tear can lead to stains that won't seem to "erase". As you age, the pulp inside your teeth shrinks and darker-colored dentin fills in. Over time, regular professional cleanings can help undo minimal staining; but if that doesn't do the trick we can suggest a few whitening options. There are two particular types of stains that can affect your teeth ...
Intrinsic Stain: This is caused by tetracycline, flourosis or severe hypocalcification (deep white spots). These can be masked with crowns or veneers, or Kor deep bleeching (for tetracycline).
Extrinsic Stain: These are caused by smoking, coffee, tea, red wine or sometimes even mouthwash. These can be treated with prophylaxis and if needed, whitening.
Your smile is very important. Often the difference between a good smile and a great smile is the whiteness of the teeth. Typical lifestyle choices as well as the aging process stain and darken your teeth. Things you do on a regular basis such as drinking coffee, tea, cola and red wine or smoking can contribute to staining your teeth. New whitening agents can remove these stains without harming your teeth.
When you meet people for the first time, it's your smile that they will remember. A whiter, brighter smile is beautiful and can help make a better impression while making you feel better about yourself. Whitening your teeth is one of the easiest things that can be done to brighten up your smile and improve your appearance. While you can get over-the-counter whitening kits, they are rarely as effective as professional whitening procedures. Because over-the-counter trays are not custom fitted by a professional and the whitening agent may leak out and irritate your gums, the kits do not work either as quickly or effectively to whiten your teeth.
You'll likely see a number of do-it-yourself bleaching kits on the shelves at the drug store. Professional dental organizations warn against using these kits, because the "one-size-fits-all" bleaching trays usually mean that the sensitive gum tissue is exposed to a large amount of the bleaching gel, which can result in irritation. In-home bleaching kits can also damage the tooth's enamel and inner pulp chamber. Dentist-prescribed kits, thanks to the personalized fit of the tray, maximize the gel's whitening effect and at the same time minimize its contact with the delicate soft tissue in the mouth.
Whitening toothpastes also aren't generally safe, as they use chemicals and abrasive substances to remove stains on teeth. When combined with overly-zealous brushing, some bleaching toothpastes can literally rub the enamel right off your teeth!
"Many patients may be under the impression that they can use over-the-counter whitening products without concern," said Kenneth Burrell, director of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. "There are some data to suggest that bleaching products may cause damage to the tooth pulp, enamel, gums, and other areas of your mouth."
Whitening isn't for everybody. If it's determined that you're a good candidate for whitening, the best option for your situation will be prescribed, and the progress will be closely monitored to determine if any adverse reactions do occur.
Even with today's advanced whitening techniques, everyone's teeth will not whiten with the same results. Yellow-, brown- or orange-toned stains will generally bleach out quite well, whereas grayed teeth, or teeth stained by tetracycline use, may not bleach satisfactorily. Your situation will be carefully evaluated, and you will be advised accordingly. If tooth bleaching isn't for you, don't give up on having whiter, brighter teeth! Porcelain veneers or dental bonding could be the perfect solution for you.
At-home tray whitening is a popular choice for whitening your teeth if you are not as concerned with seeing immediate, same-day, results and are on a more limited budget. This procedure requires a dental visit where we will fit you with a customized whitening tray. You will also receive a whitening gel that is most suited for you as well as thorough instructions for getting the best results from your at-home whitening system. In typical treatments, you will apply the gel to your customized trays and wear them one hour a day for a week or two to see great results. Some patients with tobacco, coffee, tea or other stains may take longer to whiten.