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 consider their smiles to be one of their most attractive features. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that whitening products and whitening procedures have become quite popular over the years. While we may not know exactly how many people suffer from stained or discoloured teeth, it is usually a plus to have someone's self-confidence grow with a whitening procedure.
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 things such as avoiding stain-causing foods and beverages; like hot coffee or acidic fruits, using over-the-counter whiteners; usually available in sticks, strips, or tooth-shaped trays, and cleaning your teeth daily using proper tooth brushing and flossing techniques.
Professional whitening is performed in an office by a dentist who uses professional whitening products, which are much more powerful than over-the-counter products. This can speed the whitening process along. It also usually involves a custom tray fitted to your mouth that typically offers 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?
Level up your hygiene by brushing and flossing daily (twice a day for brushing) and get regular dental check-ups. Bi-annually is what is usually recommended. If you drink coffee, consider cutting back or finding an alternative beverage. If you smoke, seek help to try and quit.