Stained teeth can ruin an otherwise attractive smile, destroying confidence and making social interaction less enjoyable. Fortunately, modern patients with dental discoloration can turn to a number of cosmetic treatments for relief.
If stains only affect the surfaces of teeth, whitening may be all that is necessary. When deeper stains are present, dental bonding or veneers are likely to give the best results. Here is more about how these options can solve this common problem.
Professional teeth whitening is faster and more effective than over-the-counter whitening kits. While over-the-counter kits can take months to work, professional teeth whitening can produce results in just an hour. In-office whitening begins with application of a barrier to protect soft oral tissues before the whitening gel is placed on the teeth. For certain types of whitening treatments, the dentist must activate the bleaching process with a light. The procedure can be repeated to reach the shade desired by the patient. Teeth whitening can work well for surface stains caused by foods, drinks and smoking, but it is ineffective for discoloration resulting from internal tooth decay.
Dental veneers offer fast, minimally invasive replacement of the fronts of teeth, making veneers ideal for concealing deep discoloration. The thickness of veneers also makes them useful for hiding other imperfections, such as gaps, chips and cracks. Although the need for preparation varies between types of veneers, most require significant enamel removal before they can be bonded to the teeth. Placed in two to three appointments, veneers can last for decades with daily dental hygiene and regular check-ups and even offer some protection against future staining.
Like veneers, dental bonding offers fast concealment of heavy external or internal tooth discoloration. The procedure involves placing an opaque, color-matched composite resin on discolored areas of the teeth and sculpting and smoothing the resin to make it look natural. Afterwards, the resin is permanently hardened using a dental light or laser. Requiring only a single appointment and often taking less than an hour, bonding can last for several years and can conceal gaps, cracks and other imperfections in addition to stains.
Learn more about the benefits of cosmetic dentistry
Appearance and social confidence can be disrupted by a stained, unsightly smile. With the cosmetic dental procedures listed here, you can eliminate discoloration on either the surfaces or insides of your teeth.If you would like to learn more about how cosmetic dentistry can help improve your smile, please download my free e-book.