Many patients initially visit a cosmetic dentist because they want to improve the shade of stained teeth. Often, these stains are caused by certain foods and beverages, including the following:
- Coffee, tea and cola
- Red wine
- Deeply colored berries
- Deeply colored sauces, like tomato sauce and soy sauce
- Brightly colored candies
Highly acidic foods can also contribute to tooth discoloration in a different way, by eroding the enamel and exposing the underlying dentin, which has a yellowish hue.
The things that you eat and drink aren’t the only substances that can stain your teeth, though. Smoking can leave behind a yellowish tinge on the teeth, while certain medications can also leave behind telltale stains.
Even the aging process can lead to discolored teeth, as the yellow dentin begins to show when the enamel gets thinner over time. [pullquote]Even the aging process can lead to discolored teeth, as the yellow dentin begins to show when the enamel gets thinner over time.[/pullquote]
A cosmetic dentist can use a few different interventions to whiten and brighten dingy or stained teeth. Many patients will start with teeth whitening, which uses a bleaching agent to eliminate stains from the teeth.
Patients can wear the gel overnight for several consecutive nights, using custom-designed trays provided by the dentist.
For faster results, though, an in-office teeth whitening system can bleach the teeth in as little as an hour.
Whatever teeth whitening system you choose, you should be prepared to do touch-ups every few months to maintain the results.
If you undergo a teeth whitening treatment, you may also want to limit your consumption of those stain-causing foods and beverages to extend the results, too.
Sometimes, the stains are too dark or deep to respond to conventional whitening treatments. In these cases, the patient may want to consider veneers as an alternative to improve the smile’s aesthetics. Veneers are thin, porcelain shells that are bonded atop the natural teeth.
Veneers are stain-resistant, but they will not respond to teeth whitening at a later time, so you will want to be sure your natural teeth match the veneer for a natural appearance.
If you want to continue to enjoy your favorite foods and beverages but don’t want your smile’s appearance to suffer, explore teeth whitening or veneers to whiten your teeth.
Contact Howl Dental at 918-749-1626 to schedule an appointment.