Badly stained teeth can prevent you from living your life to the fullest. If you are self-conscious about your teeth you may avoid smiling, laughing, and talking with others. This is no way to live – especially when there are options available for dealing with badly stained teeth. The cause behind the stains will determine which methods will work for you. Some types of stains will respond to lifestyle changes and in-home whitening methods. Other types of stains require professional intervention such as in-office whitening, porcelain veneers, or crowns.
There are some foods and drinks that can cause surface stains on your teeth. Coffee, tea, and wine are three examples. In addition, a diet that is low in nutritious foods and high in processed foods can make your teeth more susceptible to stains. Other lifestyle choices like smoking are also well known for causing unsightly teeth discoloration. Making a few changes in your lifestyle may help you with your goal of having a whiter smile. Cut out or reduce drinks and food that can cause stains. Add more variety to your diet to improve the overall health and strength of your teeth. Take steps to stop smoking completely to protect your teeth from further staining.
In-home teeth whitening methods
Surface stains sometimes respond to in-home teeth whitening methods. Options for in-home whitening include whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, strips, paint-on gel, and trays. Whitening toothpaste and mouthwash will not provide you with quick or dramatic results but you may be able to see some change with consistent use. Whitening strips, paint-on-gel, and whitening trays will provide you with more noticeable results but you must remain consistent with these options to maintain the changes.
In-office teeth whitening
If you are looking for dramatic results or have stubborn stains that did not respond to in-home whitening, professional teeth whitening may be able to help. You can have your teeth whitened by ten shades in as little as one or two in-office whitening sessions. You will be able to immediately see the impact of professional teeth whitening and the results will stick around longer than those you get from in-home whitening methods.
Porcelain veneers and crowns
There are times when badly stained teeth cannot be dealt with using surface level treatments. If your teeth are permanently discolored because of medication or injury then no amount of whitening procedures will make a difference. In these situations your options for getting a white smile include porcelain veneers and crowns. Veneers are permanently attached to the surface of your teeth. Crowns are designed to encapsulate the entire tooth. Either of these options can hide deep stains and give you the white smile you desire.
You do not have to continue living with badly stained teeth. You can deal with surface level stains with options such as lifestyle changes, in-home whitening, and in-office whitening. If your stains go below the surface, your best options are porcelain veneers and crowns. If you want to learn more about professional whitening, porcelain veneers, or crowns, schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss the options.
Peter J Samuels DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.