Tooth discolouration is one of the most common reasons why people visit a cosmetic dentist. Over time, exposure to food, beverages, and other staining agents encountered in everyday life can dull the shine and whiteness of your teeth. A simple whitening treatment, though, can return your smile to its former brilliance.
Causes of Discolored Teeth
Dentists divide tooth discolouration into three main categories: extrinsic, intrinsic, age-related discolouration.
Extrinsic discolouration involves many of your everyday habits, including the foods you eat and the beverages you drink, can contribute to staining on the surfaces of your teeth. Some of the most common culprits are:
- Fruit juices
These surface stains usually respond well to whitening treatments, because they only affect the outer layers of the teeth. In-office whitening with our dentist might be the only cosmetic dentistry procedure you’ll need.
Intrinsic discolouration involves stains that affect the deeper layers of the teeth and are more difficult to correct. Intrinsic staining, occurs most often due to:
- Excessive exposure to fluoride during early childhood
- Exposure to certain medications such as the use of tetracycline antibiotics in children under 8 years old
- Abnormal enamel development
- Trauma or injury
- Damage to the tooth pulp
Age-related discolouration involves a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic staining factors. With time, the dentin naturally yellows over time and the enamel covering your teeth gets thinner.
Staining caused by trauma or injury requires restoration of the tooth. The type and extent of the injury help determine the type of restoration required. Discoloration that occurred while the tooth was developing is often treated with dental veneers. If you have genetic problems with your enamel, or if your enamel is heavily worn or too thin, other types of restoration might be necessary, such as a dental crown or even removal and replacement of the tooth with a dental implant if it is severely damaged.
In-Office Tooth Whitening
Cosmetic dentistry’s simplest and most common procedure to correct tooth discolouration is teeth whitening. A teeth whitening procedure is often performed in-office, and takes about an hour to complete. The cosmetic dentist will apply a whitening agent directly on the tooth surfaces, then let it sit for about twenty minutes to do its work. Some whitening agents must be activated with a light for even more dramatic results. This process is repeated two more times. You’ll be able to see results right away, but they’ll become even more noticeable over the next few days.
If your teeth don’t respond well to in-office whitening, our cosmetic dentist might recommend a take-home whitening kit or possibly dental veneers.
Contact our office today to speak with a member of our caring team about teeth whitening!