Lackluster. It’s the best word that Alpharetta dentist Dr. Brett S. Silverman uses to describe teeth that have taken on stains and turned a shade that isn’t quite white. In today’s blog, you’ll learn how to ward off stains to keep your smile beautiful. We’ll also explain how the team at Advanced Cosmetic & Family Dentistry can erase years of built-up stains from your tooth enamel.
Depending on your habits, diet, and history, your teeth may have stains that look:
Bright white (horizontal lines)
Dark foods, like gravies, soy sauce, and tomato sauce and dark beverages, like tea, coffee, and red wine stain tooth enamel. Tobacco, smoked or chewed, also stains teeth. These stains are caused by things we introduce to the mouth, so they’re extrinsic. They come from outside the mouth.
Tetracycline medications (antibiotics) taken by your mom during her pregnancy with you, ingesting fluoride (usually toothpaste) during childhood, or injury to a tooth can cause stains, as well. These are intrinsic stains, caused by things that stain teeth from the inside.
If your smile is lackluster, Alpharetta dentists Dr. Brett S. Silverman and Dr. Darrell J. Morton can erase extrinsic stains with professional-grade teeth whitening solutions for home, as well as in-office. For intrinsic stains, dentists often suggest cosmetic dentistry solutions including composite resin bonding, ceramic crowns, or porcelain veneers. These treatments will be described later in this blog.
First, however, let’s look at what you can do in daily life to minimize teeth stains and discoloration.
Why Teeth Stain
People who brush twice a day and floss daily are less likely to develop dark dental discoloration or stains. This is because certain foods cause a thin film, or pellicle, to form on top of tooth enamel. The film holds dark pigments on enamel, allowing ample time for dark pigments to seep into porous tooth enamel. Saliva naturally washes away some of the staining elements, but if the patient brushes the pellicle away, stains don’t have time to develop. Neglecting to brush before bed allows the pellicle to remain on teeth throughout the night.
Maybe you don’t smoke or drink red wine and you take great care of your teeth at home–you even visit the dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkups, but your teeth are still discolored. Over time, what we consume by mouth will cause teeth to yellow. It’s part of what happens as we age.
Tooth enamel can also thin as we age, and though enamel is white, the underlying layer of dentin is not. It’s yellow. So, as enamel thins, dentin shows through, making teeth look yellow.
Patients whose mothers took a tetracycline antibiotic during pregnancy often have a bluish or grayish hue due to intrinsic staining in the womb. Even before your teeth erupted, they were tiny teeth buds embedded below your gums.
Children who use fluoride toothpaste before the age of three or four may have swallowed enough fluoride to affect their unerupted permanent teeth. We don’t know if a child has fluorosis until permanent teeth develop. White, horizontal lines are evidence of fluorosis, and the lines cannot be removed or darkened. However, whitening teeth with a chemical whitening agent can make fluorosis lines less obvious. The patient can also opt for bonding, veneers, or crowns if the stains are obvious.
Medications (certain blood pressure drugs, antihistamines, and antibiotics)
Mother tooth tetracycline during pregnancy
Poor dental health
Poor saliva flow/dry mouth
Trauma to one or more teeth
Tips for Keeping Teeth Bright from Alpharetta Dentist
Avoid dark foods or eat cheese to coat teeth in oil before eating dark foods. Rinse your mouth with water after eating dark foods.
Avoid acidic and dark beverages or use a straw to minimize their contact with tooth enamel. Acidic beverages include citrus drinks, alcohol, sports drinks, coffee, and colas.
Add smile-brightening foods to your diet, like fresh, crunchy apples, carrots, and celery, lots of water, and some green tea.
Don’t brush your teeth too hard. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing and flossing regularly can help reduce teeth staining.
Try over-the-counter whitening toothpaste and mouthwash.
Stop tobacco use today! Your Alpharetta dentist can recommend ways to help you break the addiction.
Four Options for Professional Whitening
Now let’s dive into the options for eliminating dental stains. You can enjoy a bold, bright, beautiful smile with professional teeth whitening, and Alpharetta dentist Dr. Brett Silverman gives our patients a great selection of whitening solutions to address extrinsic stains. (These treatments will not be effective on intrinsic staining or dental restorations.)
Each of these systems can only be prescribed by a dentist because they contain more active ingredients than what’s in over-the-counter whitening products. If you’ve used over-the-counter products and felt unimpressed by the lackluster results, it’s time to go pro. We offer these treatments for patients in good oral health.
Zoom! And Easy White These in-office or chairside teeth whitening systems are fast and potent, yet safe when performed under the direction of your Alpharetta dentist. If you need quick results for a special occasion (or just for your own satisfaction), an in-office whitening appointment is just what the dentist orders.
Custom Home Trays with Easy White
We mold custom trays to precisely fit your teeth, and we also provide you with a strong, safe, professional-strength whitening gel. Use the trays as directed for seven to 14 days, and the results will rival chairside whitening results. (Call us for more gel if you want to use your trays for occasional touch-ups.)
Standard Home Trays with Easy White Standard whitening trays are available, as well. Simply use the trays as instructed to produce amazingly whiter enamel within two weeks. (Call us for more gel if you want to use your trays for occasional touch-ups.)
Professional-Grade Whitening Pens
Whitening pens are convenient and simple to use. Just paint your teeth with the pen! Follow the instructions and touch up as needed. Note that the whitening pens we provide are more effective than their over-the-counter counterparts.
Restorations with Veneers, Crowns, or Bonding
Lab-made, hand-crafted porcelain veneers cover the front surface of front teeth that show when you smile. Veneers can hide chips, stains, and other imperfections, including wide or uneven spaces between teeth. Veneers can last 20+ years.
Also made in a lab, ceramic crowns cover the full portion of a tooth above the gum line to hide chips, stains, and other imperfections, including wide or uneven spaces between teeth. Crowns can look bulky on front teeth, so they aren’t the preferred treatment in most cases. Crowns can last 15+ years.
Composite Resin Bonding
Bonding is completed in our office. We mix composite resin with tint so that the restorations will blend with natural tooth enamel. Then, we apply the resin in a veneer to cover stains, or as needed to correct chips and gaps. Bonding only lasts up to seven years, but it’s fast and affordable.
Call Your Alpharetta Dentist for Professional Teeth Whitening