Stained teeth with areas of discolouration can ruin your smile and spoil your look. Luckily, a good cosmetic dentist can help you with this problem. Read on to find out how.
The causes of tooth staining and discolouration
Staining that affects the surface enamel of the teeth is referred to as extrinsic staining and is caused by foodstuffs like coffee, red wine and tea. Stains and discolouration that affect the inner tooth structure are known as intrinsic stains and are usually small areas of staining caused by trauma, disease or some prescription drugs.
How to get rid of extrinsic staining
Extrinsic surface staining is generally straightforward to deal with.
- One-off gel whitening treatment. This treatment will be carried out by your dentist. First of all, a whitening gel is applied to your teeth. The dentist then shines a special light onto the teeth to cure the gel. Although this treatment is very effective, it usually requires a few sessions to achieve the end result you want.
- Home tooth whitening treatment. Another popular method of removing extrinsic staining is home whitening treatment. Your dentist will provide you with a tray that contains whitening gel. You'll need to wear the tray on your teeth overnight for a couple of weeks, during which time the gel gradually bleaches the enamel on your teeth, removing any staining.
How to get rid of intrinsic staining
Intrinsic staining demands restorative procedures, rather than standard whitening techniques, which only serve to highlight darkened areas of the tooth enamel.
- Dental bonding. This procedure will be carried out by your cosmetic dentist and involves the application of a slice of composite resin to the surface of the stained tooth. The special dental resin is carefully matched in colour to your other teeth before being shaped to fit, and then applied using a strong dental cement. The resin is then hardened and set underneath a special light. Although dental bonds are long-lasting, they may require replacement over time.
- Porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are slightly more expensive than dental bonding, although the principle of treatment is similar. Veneers are thin shells of tooth-coloured material that are applied to the surface of the tooth to obscure the stain. At your first appointment, the dentist will start by removing a small amount of enamel from your tooth. An impression is then made of the tooth and is used to create a mould from which the custom veneer will be made. When you attend for your second appointment, the dentist will fit your veneers and set them in place using dental cement. Veneers are regarded as permanent and should not require replacement.
A good cosmetic dentist can restore discoloured or stained teeth. Contact your dentist for more information and advice on what your options are.