You might have a big event coming up. Or your teeth are staining over time. Maybe you just want to clear up some of the yellowing from your daily coffee or wine. There are plenty of reasons to get teeth whitening but the decision is firmly in the hands of the individual.
Just like hair colour, the tint of our teeth differs from person to person, therefore treating any type of discolouration is different for everyone. Before beginning any teeth whitening procedures consult with your local dentist to identify the cause of your discolouration and get the right treatment for you.
Tooth Discolouration – Why are my teeth stained?
Our ‘pearly whites’ don’t always keep that bright white colour we wish they did. So why do our teeth discolour or stain? Stained teeth can range from brown spots and yellow tints to white streaks on the enamel. Dentists commonly use three main categories when evaluating the cause of discolouration:
- Extrinsic Discolouration - What we eat and drink can cause our tooth enamel (outer layer of the tooth) to become stained. Highly acidic foods, pigmented foods (cherries, blueberries etc.), coffee, red wine, soft drinks, and smoking can all contribute to extrinsic discolouration. Some extrinsic discolouration can be removed by attending regular cleaning appointments, but others may require professional whitening by your dentist.
- Intrinsic Discolouration - As the name suggests, this form of discolouration occurs when the inner structure of the tooth (Dentin) darkens or gets a yellow tint. Treating intrinsic discolouration can be a long process depending on the reason. It can be caused by:
- Too much exposure to fluoride as a child
- Tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy or in children under 8 years of age
- Trauma to a tooth can cause the nerve (“pulp”) to become damaged and cause staining.
- Trauma to a tooth as a young child can damage the developing permanent teeth
- Age-Related Discolouration - As we age our dentin (inner structure) will naturally yellow and the enamel (outer surface) on our teeth slowly gets thinner. The combination of these, in addition to smoking and certain food and drink, can create a yellow tint to the teeth. Also, products which increase the wear on the superficial enamel will accelerate age-related discoloration.
Your dentist is the most qualified person to examine and identify the cause of your tooth discolouration. Whilst some discolouration’s can be treated at a regular clean appointment, others will require professional whitening treatments to make a difference to your smile. Teeth whitening is not suitable for everyone, so consult with your dentist before undergoing any treatment options.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 when we take a look at what your teeth whitening options are and what you can expect when you visit your dentist.
Let us brighten your smile! Contact your local Maven Dental practice to see what teeth whitening treatments they offer.