Having discolored teeth in your mouth can be embarrassing and may even prevent you from smiling as much as you should be, but there are ways to change this. Visiting a cosmetic dentist is a great way to learn about the options you have for fixing the discoloration of your teeth. If the dentist finds that the stains are extrinsic, he or she may suggest using teeth whitening to fix this problem. If they are intrinsic, teeth whitening procedures will not be effective, but there are other options.
Extrinsic vs. intrinsic stains
The first thing to understand is the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic stains. Stains that are extrinsic are those that are on the outer surface of your teeth, and these can be caused by smoking, coffee, red wine, and other foods and beverages you may consume. These can easily be corrected by whitening your teeth with a hydrogen peroxide based teeth whitener.
Stains that are intrinsic are those that are located on the inner parts of your teeth. These are not caused by the foods and drinks you consume, but they can instead be caused by:
- Taking tetracycline antibiotics when you were young
- Trauma to your teeth
- Fluoride consumption when young
Teeth whitening procedures cannot reverse or fix tooth stains found on the inner layers of the teeth, but a cosmetic dentist can offer alternative solutions.
Alternative solutions for intrinsic stains
If your dentist finds that your stains are intrinsic, there are two main options to choose from for treatment. The first option is through composite bonding. This is a process that involves placing a composite material over your teeth. Your dentist can match the color of this material to your other teeth, or you can have this placed over all your teeth in any shade of white.
The other option is through veneers. Veneers are stronger and more expensive than the first option, but they will last longer. A dentist must custom-make the veneers for your teeth, and he or she may have to shave part of your teeth off in order to install the veneers. A veneer is simply a cover for a tooth. It is thin and fits over a tooth, and it allows you to change the color of a tooth, because you can select the color for the veneer.
Having white teeth can make you feel better about yourself and your smile. If you would like to find out what options you have for getting whiter teeth, contact a cosmetic dentist such as Glendale Dental Group.