You And Your Teeth Are What You Eat
There are three main kinds of discoloration on teeth. Some are correctable, and some are permanent, depending on the cause of the discoloration.
Healthy enamel can be discolored or stained by coffee, wine, cola, other foods that have strong colors, and using tobacco products. These kinds of stains may be lightened by your dentist after a thorough oral exam. Chips or other injuries to a tooth can also cause discoloration when the pulp has been damaged.
In-office whitening is done by your dentist and involves putting a protective coating on your gums to protect them from the peroxide bleaching gel. The gel is then applied to the tooth enamel and a blue light shining on the teeth for about 30 minutes activates the gel. The treatment may be done more than once to achieve the desired whiteness. With particularly stubborn stains, you may need to return for more treatments.
Some dentists may suggest a professionally dispensed take-home whitening kit for best results. A custom-fit mouth tray and whitening gel with a lower concentration of peroxide is worn daily for an hour or longer for about two to four weeks, depending on the desired shade.
When the inner surface of the tooth is causing the discoloration, it is much harder to treat. This discoloration may be caused by a number of things, including taking antibiotics containing tetracycline, bleeding inside the tooth, root canals, and taking antibiotics before the age of 8.
Aging is another reason the teeth may look stained. The inner surface of the tooth, naturally yellows and the enamel gets thinner which allows the dentin to show through. In the case of thin enamel, the best treatment may be cosmetic change with composite bonding, porcelain veneers or crowns.
Talk to your dentist about the best treatment options for you.