There are a variety of different things that can stain your teeth. Part of the reason for this is because tooth enamel can absorb colored pigments from the foods and beverages consumed. Poor oral hygiene can also cause plaque and tartar to accumulate on the surface of the tooth, which can also stain the teeth. As we age, the enamel also wears down, which causes the dentin layer to show. Since the dentin layer is slightly yellow in color, this can make the teeth appear yellow as well.
Despite all these various factors that can stain teeth, most people still want to have white teeth. Removing years of stains and discolorations from the surface of your teeth are one of the easiest ways to improve the look of your smile. Even if your teeth are not perfectly white, brightening them by a few shades can make your entire face appear brighter and more youthful.
When it comes to treating stained teeth, your cosmetic dentist can offer you a few different options. Here are the best cosmetic dental treatments for stained teeth:
Professional Teeth Whitening
If you are looking for an easy, affordable, and fast way to get a whiter smile, then professional teeth whitening treatments may be right for you. During a professional whitening treatment, your dentist will apply a whitener to the surface of your teeth and leave it in place for about an hour. The whitener will then be absorbed into the enamel and dentin layers of your teeth, where it will dissolve stains for up to 24 hours after application. In most cases, you can expect your teeth to be about 5-10 shades whiter in as little as a single dental appointment.
However, professional teeth whitening treatments may not be effective against certain types of stains like those caused by medications or aging. Teeth whitening treatments also do not protect against future stains and will eventually need to be repeated in about 1-3 years to maintain a white smile. How long your whitening results last will ultimately depend on your diet, lifestyle, and oral hygiene habits.
Veneers are another option for treating stained teeth. Veneers are thin shells made from porcelain and adhered to the front side of the teeth. Unlike professional whitening treatments, veneers do not remove stains and instead cover up stained teeth. Because of this, veneers are effective against all types of stains and work well to conceal stubborn stains that do not respond to whitening treatments. In addition to covering up stains, veneers can also change the size, shape, alignment, and spacing of the teeth to enhance the overall appearance of your smile. After being applied, veneers last about 10-15 years and can prevent future stains since they are fabricated from porcelain.
However, veneers do require some enamel modification that makes them a permanent treatment. Because of this, they will need to be applied over the course of at least two dental appointments. Since veneers are a permanent treatment, this means that they will need to be replaced once they wear out because the enamel has been modified.
Dental crowns are another option for treating stained teeth. They are similar to veneers in that they are used to cover up stained teeth and can also be used to improve the appearance of the teeth by altering their size, shape, spacing, and alignment. They can also be fabricated from porcelain and tend to last about 10-15 years. Unlike veneers that only cover the front side of the tooth, however, dental crowns cover the entire visible portion of the tooth. This makes dental crowns ideal for use in the back of the mouth, while veneers are primarily used in the front of the mouth.
However, since dental crowns do cover the entire visible tooth structure, this means that they also require significant enamel modification. To have a dental crown placed, the tooth will need to be reduced in size to accommodate the crown. Since enamel does not grow back, these modifications are permanent, which means the crown will need to be replaced when it wears down.
Dr. Sarmad Channo, a Rochester, MI dentist, received his doctorate degree from New York University Dental School. Since then, he has continued studying to broaden his expertise and has also graduated from Progressive Orthodontic Seminars with the highest of honors. Dr. Channo has also served as an instructor for both the McGann Postgraduate School of Dentistry and Progressive Orthodontic Seminars.