Having a bright, white smile is one of the fastest and easiest ways to lighten up your entire face and make you appear younger. Not only that, but having a beautiful smile is infectious and will help you radiate positivity and warmth. However, keeping your teeth white can sometimes feel like an uphill battle.
For starters our teeth are porous, meaning that they absorb colored pigments from anything we eat or drink. Over time, this will inevitably cause them to become discolored and even permanently stained. Certain medications can also cause our teeth to stain from the inside out. Not only that, but our teeth will naturally yellow with age as our enamel thins and exposes more of the underlying dentin which is yellowish in color.
With so many factors stacked against us, how do we obtain that bright, white smile we’ve always dreamed of? Luckily, cosmetic dentists have a few tricks up their sleeve to help improve the appearance of stained teeth:
Professional teeth whitening, also sometimes referred to as teeth bleaching, is usually one of the first cosmetic treatments people use to whiten their teeth. It is a quick and non-invasive procedure in which a whitener is brushed onto the surface of the teeth and left in place for up to an hour. The whitener is then absorbed by the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth, where it triggers a chemical reaction that dissolves colored pigments. The end result is a whiter smile. However, teeth whitening procedures may not be effective on certain types of stains such as those from medications or aging.
Dental veneers, often referred to as porcelain veneers, are thin shells of porcelain that are adhered to the front surface of visible teeth. Each veneer is fabricated in a dental lab and is customized in terms of color. Although composite resin can be used for veneers, porcelain is generally recommended because it is stain-resistant. Therefore, multiple veneers can be used to create a whiter smile or even a single veneer can be used to cover a single discolored tooth. Veneers are ideal for individuals that have had limited or no results from teeth whitening procedures due to intrinsic staining. Unlike teeth whitening, however, veneers do not actually change the color of the teeth, rather they simply cover up the discolorations.
Dental crowns, sometimes referred to as caps, fit over the entire visible portion of the tooth. They are commonly used to restore teeth that are severely decayed or damaged, but they can also be used to improve the color of stained teeth. Like veneers, they do not change the actual color of the teeth. Unlike veneers, however, they cover the entire tooth surface rather than just the front. Additionally, crowns can be used in the back of the mouth, while veneers are generally only recommended for use towards the front of the mouth.
As you can see, there are few different options available when it comes to whitening stained teeth. Professional teeth whitening procedures work well for those looking for a fast and easy whitening method, while veneers and crowns are ideal for those who have stubborn stains or discolorations that cannot be helped by teeth whitening procedures alone. Ultimately, if you want to have your teeth whitened, it is recommended to consult with a cosmetic dentist to determine which method is best for you.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.