Discolored teeth are one of the most common problems our patients have. Everyone wants to have a beautiful white smile that they’re ready to show off. There are also many reasons why you may have discolored teeth. This can impact how we treat them.
If you’re suffering from discolored teeth in Northeast Philadelphia, Dr. Drew Shulman can help you get the sparkling smile you dream of. The cause and severity of your discoloration can determine the treatment option that’s best for you.
What Causes Tooth Discoloration?
For starters, our teeth naturally get more discolored as we age. The layer of enamel starts thinning, showing more of the yellow hue of the dentin underneath. Genetics may also make you more predisposed to tooth discoloration.
Our lifestyle habits make a big impact on the color of our teeth as well. Certain medications can cause staining of various colors on the teeth. Using tobacco and regularly drinking staining drinks like coffee or tea can discolor your teeth faster. These extrinsic stains occur on the outer layer of the tooth enamel. The longer you’ve had these habits, the more staining you’ll experience.
Stains that occur beneath the tooth enamel, within the dentin layer are intrinsic stains. They can be due to factors like aging, certain medications (such as tetracycline antibiotics), excessive fluoride intake during childhood, or trauma that affects the tooth’s nerve.
Inadequate brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings can lead to a buildup of plaque and tartar on teeth, which can cause discoloration as well. Regular dental check-ups, professional cleanings, and maintaining good oral hygiene practices are essential for preventing and managing tooth discoloration.
Treating Tooth Discoloration
At our office, we have many ways we can take care of discolored teeth. You’ll have a cosmetic consultation with Dr. Shulman to discuss your budget and assess the discoloration of your teeth. Depending on your situation, Dr. Shulman will recommend one of the following treatment options.
Professional Teeth Whitening
We offer both in-office and at-home professional teeth whitening. In the office, we use the Zoom! teeth whitening system. You can get teeth up to eight shades whiter in about an hour at our office. We will cover your gums before applying the whitening gel to protect your gums. A special light activates the whitening agent in the gel. It’s a great way to get whiter teeth quickly.
At-home teeth whitening is more convenient but is also more gradual. Custom bleaching trays are made from molds of your mouth. You can wear the trays for a few hours each day or while you’re sleeping for convenience. In about two weeks, you’ll see the results of your teeth whitening!
We cannot remove all stains with traditional whitening methods. For these instances, porcelain veneers are available. Porcelain veneers are ideal for intrinsic stains because they effectively mask the discoloration caused by such stains. Intrinsic stains are more difficult to remove through conventional teeth whitening methods. Since intrinsic stains are deep within the tooth enamel, simply applying whitening agents on the surface of the teeth may not yield satisfactory results.
This is where porcelain veneers come into play. Veneers are thin shells of dental ceramic that go over the front and sides of your teeth. The porcelain in veneers is extremely durable and has the ability to mimic the natural sheen of tooth enamel. Dr. Shulman designs veneers to precisely match the color, shape, and size of adjacent teeth, ensuring a seamless and natural-looking smile.
When it comes to intrinsic stains, porcelain veneers offer a comprehensive solution. The veneer covers the stained tooth surface entirely, effectively masking the underlying discoloration.
Since porcelain is a non-porous material, it’s highly resistant to staining, which means the veneers will maintain their color and shine over a long period of time. This makes them an excellent choice for individuals with stubborn intrinsic stains that traditional whitening methods cannot address.
Dental bonding is a more economic way to get the same coverage as veneers. The dentist uses a malleable composite resin that he matches to the color of your teeth or the shade you choose. Your dentist will mold it to the shape of your tooth, harden it with a curing light, and polish it to match the natural sheen of your real teeth. However, they are a more temporary solution. You should plan on it lasting around three to ten years, depending on how well you take care of your teeth.
Get Treatment for Stained Teeth in Our Dental Office
Professional solutions are far better than over-the-counter kits to treat discolored teeth. Let our trusted professional give you the smile that you’re searching for using teeth whitening treatments. Call us or schedule an appointment online today!