There are several possible causes of tooth discoloration, ranging from the aging process to certain types of foods and beverages. Tooth enamel, which is the protective layer that covers teeth, gets thinner over time. This causes the yellowish inside portion of the tooth to become more visible. Coffee, tea, red wine, and other beverages and foods have substances that leave stains on tooth enamel. Other possible causes of discoloration include antihistamines and other medications, cigarettes and other tobacco products, and trauma.
Teeth whitening products contain a bleaching agent that breaks up stains to reduce their appearance. This results in teeth having a brighter appearance. Teeth whitening options include lasers that remove stains, take-home trays with whitening gel, over-the-counter whitening strips and gels, and toothpaste and mouthwash that contains whitening ingredients.
Patients who have yellowish stains typically make the most suitable candidates for teeth whitening. Some types of stains, such as brownish ones, are more resistant to teeth whitening agents. Teeth whitening products usually don’t work on grayish stains. They’re also not meant to be used on teeth that are discolored due to injuries or medication or on dental crowns and veneers.
Teeth whitening is generally safe for most individuals. Those who plan on having teeth whitening done should note that certain side effects are possible, including tooth sensitivity, tooth enamel damage, and gum damage. Patients should discuss any concerns they have with Dr. Bateman before having teeth whitening done.
Teeth whitening varies in terms of effectiveness based on what type of whitening product is used. Professional whitening products, such as those used for in-office bleaching, are highly effective at removing stains and producing long-term results. Over-the-counter products, such as whitening strips and whitening gels with peroxide, are usually only effective at getting rid of stains on the surface of teeth. This typically produces results that don’t last as long or results that aren’t as noticeable.To learn more about teeth whitening, call or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Bateman at Los Altos Dental.
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