There are many different types of stains and discolorations that can affect your teeth. Cosmetic dentistry services, like whitening, can be fantastic for some of these imperfections. However, not all discolorations can be fixed with whitening; they may be indicative of another problem and need a different dental service. Take a look at common stains and discolorations and how to proceed.
Stains from Red Wine, Coffee, Etc.
In-office whitening is fantastic for stains caused by beverages. These beverages contain tannins, brownish or yellowish chemical compounds that can cause surface stains on enamel. These surface stains can be fixed by in-office whitening—you can often achieve an eight-shade difference! If you cut back on staining beverages, your whitening results will last a very long time.
Yellow or Brown Stains
Yellow or brown stains can be caused by all sorts of things. For instance, plaque can make your teeth appear more yellow. After a dental cleaning and whitening, these yellow stains will vanish. If you smoke, you may have yellow or brown stains—again, in-office whitening can help some with these stains, although cutting back on the habit or quitting is better.
Keep in mind that some yellow coloration in your teeth may not be a stain at all. As you age, your enamel thins and the underlying dentin, which is yellow, can show through. If you have thin enamel, dental bonding or veneers would likely be a better option for you than whitening.
Bright White Discolorations
If you only have a bright white discoloration on one tooth, then whitening the others may help to match your teeth to this discoloration. But if you have many white stains, you likely have fluorosis. This condition is caused when a person ingests too much fluoride. Instead of whitening, you may be better off investing in a remineralizing paste which will lessen the white spots.
Gray or Black Discolorations
If your tooth has a gray or black discoloration, it's not likely because of surface stains. Visit your dentist to make sure the tooth is healthy. Gray or black discolorations are often indicative of bruising or internal bleeding after an injury. If the injury is serious, your tooth not only will continue to darken, it could become infected by bacteria and need a root canal. It's important to see a dentist so he or she can make sure the tooth pulp can be saved.
Contact a cosmetic dentist today to see which dental service can help your stains and discolorations.