Why do teeth become stained or discoloured?
There are many reasons why teeth can stain or darken. Some are not within our control, such as age, genetics, or accidents, and some are, such as our lifestyle choices.
This is why it is important to discuss any plans you have about whitening your teeth with your dentist. While it's true that teeth whitening is normally performed for cosmetic reasons, your dentist should still be able to recommend the best course of action as they should be qualified to tell you whether the staining is due to lifestyle factors or overall oral health.
The good news is that reversing stains is normally well within our reach, and your dentist should be able to restore your teeth to their former glory.
How common are discoloured or stained teeth?
Many people believe that their smile is one of their most attractive features. As a result, it should come as no surprise that whitening products and procedures have grown in popularity over the years. While we don't know how many people have stained or discoloured teeth, having someone's self-confidence grow with a whitening procedure is usually a plus.
What treatment options are available?
Yes, there are treatments available for whitening your teeth. Depending on the cause of your discolouration, your dentist might recommend one of the following options:
This includes avoiding stain-causing foods and beverages, such as hot coffee or acidic fruits, using over-the-counter whiteners, which are typically available in sticks, strips, or tooth-shaped trays, and cleaning your teeth daily with proper tooth brushing and flossing techniques.
Professional whitening is done in a dentist's office with professional whitening products that are far more powerful than over-the-counter products. This can hasten the whitening process. It also usually includes a custom tray that is fitted to your mouth and provides better white adhesion.
With dental bonding, your dentist applies a white resin to your tooth and hardens it with a special curing light. This light 'bonds' the resin to the tooth, making for a whiter smile.
Dental crowns can be placed over a tooth to cover and/or restore damaged teeth and whiten your smile. Your dentist should be able to match the crown with your tooth colour.
How can I prevent tooth staining and discolouration?
Improve your dental hygiene by brushing and flossing twice a day (twice a day for brushing) and getting regular dental check-ups. It is usually recommended to do it every two years. If you drink coffee, think about cutting back or switching to another beverage. If you smoke, try to quit with the help of a professional.