We are all more conscious of the whiteness of our teeth than we used to be. There’s a tension between the nation’s increasing love for coffee and its desire to have the whitest teeth.
It’s no wonder that teeth whitening has become one of the most requested cosmetic procedures in the US. But not everyone who wants teeth whitening will benefit from it. Here’s a guide to some common types of tooth discoloration, and which ones respond to teeth whitening.
Food Staining Responds Well
The most common cause of discolored teeth is, as we alluded, dark foods and beverages. Some common culprits are coffee, tea, chocolate, berries, red wine, or dark beer.
Food stains respond to both in-office teeth whitening with Zoom! and to professional at-home KöR tooth bleaching.
Tobacco Stains Can Be Eliminated
Like food stains, tobacco stains are organic molecules that get trapped in the tooth enamel. Teeth whitening has the ability to break down these molecules and reduce staining.
The difference is that these molecules are more likely to be larger and more difficult to break down and remove. They can be darker in color. As a result, tobacco stains are harder to eliminate, and you may not be as happy after an in-office procedure. Deep bleaching should eliminate tobacco stains just fine, however.
Fluorosis and Antibacterial Can Sometimes Be Treated
Fluorosis occurs when you consume too much fluoride while your teeth are developing. Mild fluorosis causes small white spots on your teeth. These white spots can be blended in if you have your teeth whitened. At first, it might seem like the spots whiten and become lighter than the surrounding enamel, but they don’t stay whiter–they tend to blend in shortly. More severe fluorosis may not respond to whitening, but may be treated with other means.
Tetracycline antibiotics can cause serious discoloration of the teeth. These likely won’t respond to in-office whitening. However, KöR deep bleaching has been shown to be very effective against this type of discoloration.
Don’t Give up if At-Home Treatments Don’t Work
One common mistake people make is thinking that at-home whiteners work as well as a professional whitening treatment. No matter what advertisers may tell you, there is a big difference between over-the-counter whiteners and the whiteners you can get at a dentist’s office.
If your at-home whiteners aren’t working, or are giving uneven results that make your teeth look worse, we can help you achieve quality, attractive results.
Causes of Discoloration That Whitening Can’t Affect
However, there are some situations in which teeth whitening just won’t help.
If your tooth became discolored after a tooth trauma, then it probably won’t respond to whitening. And if there are problems with the enamel, such as can be caused by severe fluorosis or malnutrition, that won’t respond to whitening, either.
Whitening also won’t help if your tooth enamel has become thinned as a result of exposure to stomach acid or acidic foods and drinks.
And you have to be aware that everyone’s enamel is a little different. Your enamel may not be as white as other people’s, and it may darken with age. Teeth whitening won’t change the color of your enamel.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a white smile. In cases like this, we may recommend porcelain veneers or dental crowns to help you get the beautifully white smile you desire.