Fix Stained Teeth
A variety of different things can allow visible stains to form on the teeth. Stains are most commonly caused by dark colored food or beverages, medications, trauma to the teeth, a genetic predisposition, and the natural aging process. Depending the cause and severity of the staining, there are various treatments available which can help improve the teeth’s color. Below are some of the most popular treatments which can safely and effectively improve the appearance of stains:
- Bleaching: This solution is ideal for improving stains which are mild to moderate. With this method, a plastic tray is filled with a bleaching solution containing a peroxide base. The tray securely holds the bleaching product against to the teeth. It is typically used daily for about a month, depending on the desired shade and how the teeth respond to treatment. Some types of trays are available to purchase over-the-counter and typically cost between $150 and $300. Patients with relatively mild tooth stains often see visible improvements. At-home bleaching treatments, however, are not as powerful compared to a professional bleaching solution. Patients can obtain custom trays for use at home from the dentist. Custom trays are more effective than the over-the-counter options as they fit more securely in the mouth and prevent leakage of the whitening gel.
- Professional Bleaching: Professional bleaching treatments use a bleaching solution which is stronger than the solutions which are available over-the-counter. In some cases, dental professionals can also use heat, lights or a combination of the two to expedite and intensify the results. It is typically possible to achieve about three to eight shades brighter with a professional bleaching solution. Some dentists offer whitening treatments that use an ultraviolet light which rapidly enhances the effects of the solution.
- Toothpaste: Many brands of toothpaste contain an abrasive ingredient which helps to remove stains on the teeth. Toothpaste which is specifically designed to whiten the teeth, usually also contains polishing agents and special chemicals to increase their effectiveness. With consistent use of whitening toothpaste, patients are often able to make their teeth a few shades lighter. Whitening toothpastes are available at local stores and are a very affordable option.
- Veneers: In cases of severe tooth discoloration, a genetic predisposition or when the discoloration is due to the natural aging process, the treatment may need to be more involved. In cases where the tooth discoloration does not respond to traditional whitening methods, dentists may recommend using porcelain veneers. The veneers are bonded to the tooth’s surface and contain a very thin sheet of porcelain or tooth-colored resin. The veneers provide patients with a whiter smile while achieving a natural appearance and normal function. Veneers are also a good solution for patients who have tooth discoloration from taking antibiotics, fluorosis or experienced trauma to the tooth.
- Whitening Strips: Whitening strips are applied directly to the teeth once or twice each day for a week or two. In some cases, patients use them periodically for maintenance. The strips typically contain peroxide and are typically effective with improving the appearance of mild stains. Whitening strips are readily available over-the counter.
While some patients prefer to pursue natural teeth whitening options, these methods are often less effective and in some cases, can even damage the teeth. Speak with your dentist regarding which whitening solutions are safe and most effective in achieving your desired results.