image0031Discoloration on the teeth is very common—in fact almost everyone experiences some kind of staining at some point in their lives. Most commonly, staining is caused by exposure to dark-colored foods and beverages. This type of staining can be treated with teeth whitening.

Causes of Dental Stains

Stains on the teeth are often caused by exposure to staining agents encountered every day. These can include:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Nicotine
  • Fruit juices
  • Wine

These substances can move into the pores of the enamel, staining it until it develops a yellowish or brown look. This is called extrinsic staining, because it affects the outermost layers of the teeth. This type of staining typically responds well to whitening.

Other types of discoloration do not always respond to whitening. Intrinsic staining, which affects the deeper layers of the teeth, is caused by exposure to certain medications or to excessive amounts of fluoride while the teeth are developing. Intrinsic staining is usually treated by a cosmetic dentist with dental veneers. Discoloration due to an injury to the tooth’s interior, which tends to turn the tooth dark brown or black, must be treated by addressing the injury

Treatment with Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening can be performed by a cosmetic dentist right in the office, and only takes about an hour. The whitening agent is applied to the tooth surfaces then left for about twenty minutes so it can penetrate the pores of the enamel. Some whitening agents are activated with a special light for even more powerful whitening. The process is repeated three times. You’ll see results right away, but over the next few days your teeth will become even whiter.

If your teeth do not respond well to in-office whitening, your cosmetic dentist may provide a take-home kit. This includes a professional-strength whitener as well as custom-made trays. You’ll apply the whitener by placing it in the trays and then wearing them over your teeth for about fifteen minutes twice a day. This type of whitening generally shows results in about two weeks.

Are you interested in a brighter smile? Contact our office today!