Why do teeth become stained or discoloured?
Teeth can darken or stain for many reasons. While some are not under our control, such as accidents, age or genetics, others are, such as our lifestyle choices.
For this reason, it's important to ask your dentist about any plans you have regarding whitening your teeth. While teeth whitening is normally performed for cosmetic reasons, your dentist should be able to recommend the best course of action based on your circumstances - whether the staining is due to overall oral health or lifestyle factors.
The good news: Reversing stains is normally within our reach, and your dentist may be able to restore your teeth to their former whiteness.
How common are discoloured or stained teeth?
Since many people consider their smiles to be one of their most attractive features, it should be no surprise that more people have discovered whitening products and whitening procedures. While we may not know exactly how many people suffer from discoloured or stained teeth, a patient's self-confidence can often be bolstered 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.