When you think of the concept of perfect oral health, you imagine pearly whites. However, some people carefully practice oral hygiene, but their teeth remain on the yellow side.
If your teeth are yellow despite regularly flossing and brushing your teeth, you may have intrinsically or extrinsically stained them. But don’t worry, because teeth whitening can help you with that problem.
Tooth Stain Types
Stains that leave the tooth discolored are categorized as either extrinsic or extrinsic. The difference between the two boils down to where they stain the tooth.
Extrinsic Tooth Stains
Extrinsic stains are those that discolor teeth from the outside. They usually involve what people put in their mouths and how it reacts to the tooth’s enamel.
Some of the most common sources of extrinsic tooth stains include:
- Antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs, and antihypertensive medications
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Medications with doxycycline and tetracycline
- Mouthwashes with chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride
- Tobacco products
- Tomato-based sauces and dishes
These things will not stain your teeth immediately. However, prolonged and regular exposure to them will stain your teeth and make them yellow. The more you use these things, the more tar, nicotine, acid, and tannins found in them seep into the tooth’s enamel and stain it.
Intrinsic Tooth Stains
Unlike extrinsic stains, intrinsic stains discolor the teeth from the inside. While extrinsic stains are mostly cosmetic and harmless, intrinsic stains may indicate a dental issue that a dentist must address immediately.
Some of the most common sources of intrinsic tooth stains include:
- Bleeding within the tooth
- Necrotic damage to the tooth
- Past root canal therapy
- Small dental cracks
- Tooth decay
While having yellow teeth due to genetics is generally harmless, the other intrinsic staining agents are concerning. Take fluorosis as an example. Depending on the stage, fluorosis can either stain a tooth or completely break down its enamel to create pits in your teeth.
Addressing Teeth Stains
There are two ways people can get the bright smile they have always wanted. People who have extrinsically stained their teeth can undergo teeth whitening procedures. Depending on the cause of the intrinsic stain, you can either go through a regular dental whitening procedure or get fitted with dental veneers.
There are a lot of dental whitening products in today’s market. But dental clinics usually offer two procedures: dental bleaching or laser whitening.
Dental bleaching is a process that spans multiple days. It involves a dental kit with a whitening gel and dental tray that you would have to use for a fixed amount of time every day for the next two to four weeks.
On the other hand, laser whitening is a procedure where your dentist will paint a bleaching gel on your teeth and activate it using a special light.
The key component in both procedures is the whitening gel. The gel contains chemicals that break bonds between stains and your tooth’s enamel layer.
Dental veneers are custom-made tooth-colored coverings for your teeth. These dental coverings can either be made from porcelain or resin composite materials.
However, most people opt for porcelain veneers because they resist stains better than resin composite ones.
When you decide to get veneers, you are in for a multi-stage process. It includes making dental impressions, reshaping your tooth surface, waiting for two to four weeks to make the veneer, fitting, and bonding.
Dental veneers may feel permanent, but they are not. Typically, dental veneers last anywhere from seven to fifteen years. But with proper oral hygiene, you may get to use them even longer.
Teeth whitening is not only a move for vanity. Studies have shown that healthy teeth that look great can improve your emotional and mental well-being. If regular oral care is not lightening your teeth enough, speak with your dentist about whitening them.
Dental House MI is a privately owned dental clinic offering top-notch teeth whitening in Waterford and Ann Arbor. Our experienced and friendly dental staff is ready to go the extra mile to help you get the smile you have always wanted. Schedule your appointment today!