Many people will have to deal with some degree of teeth staining over the course of their lives. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. However, teeth staining isn't a permanent condition and there are several treatments options, including whitening toothpaste, at-home whitening kits, and in-house treatments at the dentist's office
However, not all these treatments will work on every kind of staining, and even those that work may not produce results that you may consider satisfactory. Before understanding the solutions, it's important to first consider the cause of the staining.
What Causes Teeth to Lose their Color and Brightness
There are several causes why your teeth may not be as bright as they once were, including:
- Physical trauma to the teeth
- The use of antibiotics containing tetracycline at a young age
- Exposure to fluoride in high amounts at a young age
- Use of tetracycline by a mother late in her pregnancy
Staining as a result of tetracycline occurs while the permanent tooth/teeth is still under the gum line. The drug calcifies in the tooth, resulting in the stains. The drug can also cause a baby to born with stained milk teeth.
Removing Stains from Teeth
The best method to remove stains from teeth will depend on what caused the stains in the first place. As far as the diet is concerned, consumption of sodas, tea, red wine, coffee, pasta sauce and other foods with a high staining potential will result in what is known as extrinsic teeth staining. In this type of staining, the stains are on the enamel, i.e. the outermost layer of the tooth. This makes it possible to remove them using teeth whitening toothpaste. However, the toothpaste may not always work or may only remove some of the staining.
At-home stain removing kits and in-office treatments from the dentist are the most effective solutions for stains that can't be removed by whitening toothpaste. This is usually the case for stains that are set in the dentin rather than the enamel. The dentin is located underneath the enamel, so removing the stains requires something that can penetrate the enamel.
The bleaching agent in the in-office treatments and at-home kits from the dentist are designed to penetrate and remove the deep stains. In case these options aren't good enough, you can also consider capping or bonding to cover up the stains. A dental professional can help you figure out the best options to try. For more information, contact a local dental clinic like Brandywine Dental Care.