Most understand the importance of a healthy smile, however a healthy smile doesn’t always equal a white smile. Unfortunately, keeping our smiles white takes more than brushing and regular dental exams. While these are extremely helpful, most of us need a little help along the way.
What Causes Tooth Discoloration?
Many things can discolor your teeth. From what you eat and drink, lifestyle choices and even your dental hygiene can negatively affect your smile. Below are some of the most common causes of a less-than-stellar smile:
- Food and drinks. Coffee, tea and wine can stain your teeth. In addition, certain fruits and vegetables can also discolor your teeth when eaten in excess.
- Smoking or using chewing tobacco can stain teeth.
- Poor dental hygiene. Not brushing properly and never flossing can cause discoloration.
- Certain medications can also stain your teeth. Antibiotics, in particular, can discolor your teeth. Tetracycline and doxycycline are two of the most common offenders.
- Excessive levels of fluoride from either environmental sources or excessive use of fluoride toothpaste or rinses can also cause discoloration
1. Teeth Bonding
Similar to veneers, bonding can also improve the appearance of your teeth. Bonding involves applying a tooth-colored composite over the discolored teeth. Unlike veneers, which are require a customized mold to fit properly, bonding can be done in only one visit. Keep in mind that you still need to treat bonded teeth as your own, which means adhering to a healthy oral hygiene regimen.
2. Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening or bleaching is the least invasive and possible most cost-effective procedure for improving your smile. However, you there are a few things you should take into consideration. The condition of your teeth and the exact cause of why your teeth are discolored are two important factors.
There are several ways to whiten your teeth; at-home products and in-office whitening. Tooth whitening can also be accomplished with over-the-counter products. These products are available in your local drug store, however, due to their low concentration of whitening components, the results will not be the same as with in-office treatments.
3. Laser Whitening
Laser teeth whitening is performed in a dental office. Bleach is applied and then heated with a laser to whiten your teeth. Hydrogen peroxide gel is used for this process and usually comes in concentration ranges of 25 to 40 percent. After treatment, you must take precautions to reduce tooth sensitivity, which include:
- Professional application of desensitizing products
- Use of specially formulated toothpaste for sensitive teeth
Dental veneers are another possible treatment option. Similar to bonding, veneers can brighten even the most discolored teeth. However they do have slight differences. For example, veneers are permanent and cannot be removed. As mentioned above, veneers do require custom-made dental molds to ensure proper fit over your natural teeth.
Placed directly on the surface of your teeth, porcelain veneers are indistinguishable from your real teeth. Veneers can be used to correct a wide variety of dental flaws, including staining or teeth discoloration.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Discoloration?
Simple lifestyle changes may able prevent tooth discoloration. For instance, if you drink coffee, you can try cutting back on consumption. However, if you simply love your cup of joe, using a metal straw to get your daily dose can prevent staining of your teeth. In addition, your oral hygiene habits go a long way towards keeping your teeth white. Brushing, flossing and using mouthwash on the daily, as well as seeing your dentist regularly, can also help keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
A healthy, beautiful smile not only boosts your self-confidence, but makes you happier, and can literally add years to your life. If you’d like to change the appearance of your teeth and smile, reach out to us today to discuss a variety of options for the discoloration of your teeth. From simple color correction to replacing missing teeth, your perfect smile is only phone call away.