When your teeth are not at their whitest it can be a source of frustration and self-consciousness. There are so many different threats to the whiteness of your teeth that it can be difficult to keep them as white as you would like. Dark colored drinks like coffee, soda, and wine can cause dark surface stains. Injury, medication, and some types of illness can also lead to this issue. Smoking is another cause for seriously discolored teeth. If your teeth have dark and/or widespread staining you may be wondering if it is even possible to get the white smile you want. Fortunately, there are options for getting white teeth no matter how badly your teeth are stained. Some solutions will work for surface level stains while others are designed to help people who have stains that go deep below the surface.
Options for surface level stains
Surface level stains are the easiest type of stain to correct. These stains – as their name suggests – sit on the surface of your teeth. It is easy to develop this type of stain over time through everyday activities like eating and drinking. Regular visits to your dentist for cleaning and a consistent oral care routine will help fend off some but not all surface stains. Even when you are diligent with your oral care there will likely come a time when you need to deal with surface level stains on your teeth. The options for do this include in-home and professional whitening solutions. In-home whitening options include using whitening toothpaste and mouthwash as well as whitening strips, gels, and trays. In-home whitening options can provide you with some results especially if your stains are minimal. It may take a while for you to see results with in-home treatment options. In-office professional whitening is another option for removing surface level stains. Professional whitening can whiten your teeth up to ten shades in one or two visits. You will see an immediate difference in the shade of your teeth if you have surface stains and choose in-office whitening. It can be difficult to determine if the stains on your teeth are on the surface or go deeper. If you are uncertain about what type of stains you have, schedule a time to talk to your dentist about the condition of your teeth.
Options for deep stains
There are some types of stains that go deeper than the surface. For these stains there is no amount of surface level whitening that will make a difference. If you have deep stains that are below the surface you may feel like getting the white teeth that you want is out of the question. The reality is there are options even for deeply discolored teeth. Two of the options for whitening your discolored teeth include porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns. Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that cover the surface of your teeth. Crowns are also made with porcelain but they are designed to completely encapsulate your teeth. Both options can cover serious discoloration and give you the white smile you want.
If you have seriously stained teeth you may feel like there is no hope of getting them as white as you want. Fortunately, there is help even if you have teeth that are discolored below the surface. Cosmetic dentistry can help you get rid of surface level stains or cover deep discoloration.
Julie C Berger, DDS, MA, FACP is a local Gettysburg dentist and a board certified prosthodontist specialist. She is a former full time instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.