Are you somebody who has always wanted pearly white teeth? Commercials will have you believe that switching to their brand of toothpaste is enough to get your ideal smile and white teeth.
However, a lot more contributes to your teeth’s health and appearance. As dentists with 29 years of practice, we understand clients, their routines, and even the misconceptions they have.
Stained teeth, or tooth discoloration, are relatively common in people of all ages. It’s one major complaint; many Americans are dissatisfied with their smile simply because of stained teeth. If you are one of those people, you would understand the frustration that accompanies dental issues. You can try whitening strips and change your toothpaste, but it yields limited or no results.
Hence, we will discuss the different causes of tooth discoloration and how to prevent them. Suppose you are already suffering from stained teeth. In that case, cosmetic solutions, tooth whitening procedures, and cleaning procedures are used to fix stained teeth and give you a whiter smile.
Types of Staining and Discolored Teeth
Before getting your stained teeth fixed, you need to know your type of stains. Some result from oral hygiene habits, while others can result from trauma or infection in the area. Here are the three significant categories of tooth discoloration:
- Age-related tooth discoloration: As entropy affects the rest of our bodies, our teeth also start losing their enamel. This loss turns white teeth into yellow, and the discoloration becomes more apparent if there are other compounding dental issues.
- Extrinsic tooth discoloration: Perhaps the least problematic dental instance is this. Extrinsic stains are limited to the outer layer of the teeth. Some foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, and red wine, can erode tooth enamel, giving a brown, yellow, or even blue tint. Tobacco use also stains teeth giving them a dark brown or reddish tint.
- Intrinsic tooth discoloration: If there are internal causes for tooth discoloration, it’s a lot harder to treat. This issue can happen due to trauma or injury to the tooth or tooth decay. Using too much fluoride, certain medications, and genetics can also alter the color of your teeth. Only a dentist can diagnose more accurately if your teeth turn grayish, bluish, or yellowish.
Stain Colors and Causes
Plaque buildup between your teeth and molars is just as essential to address as the discoloration of your front teeth. Stains are more visible in the front, but it’s not just the outer appearance of your teeth that matters. Your teeth could be rotting from the inside due to tartar buildup or decaying due to cavities.
Want to understand what stage of staining you are at and the possible causes? Here’s a general guideline.
These are common in people that consume high amounts of caffeine, sugar, and nicotine. Tea, coffee, and wine, as well as sweets, erode enamel. Antibiotics can also cause yellow teeth. Plaque buildup in people with poor oral hygiene also coats the teeth with a layer of yellow tartar. Those suffering from chronic dry mouth (such as diabetic patients) may also develop yellow stains.
These are spot lesions, and they signal early tooth decay or a cavity. Overusing fluoride toothpaste can also erode the enamel, as can a low-calcium diet. A thinner development of enamel or demineralization can also cause white teeth.
A lot of people have a combination of yellow and brown stains. That’s because tobacco use and coffee, tea, and wine all cause brown discoloration. This more prominent stain might also signal untreated tooth decay or tartar formation.
Black and Purple Stain:
While less heard of, people that indiscriminately consume wine may get bluish, purplish, or even grayish stains. Too many iron supplements or fillings of silver sulfide can cause a different black stain. Black spots are also symptoms of advanced dental cavities.
Whitening Solutions to Fix Stained Teeth
Over-the-Counter Dental Products
You can administer fluoride treatment on your own if the staining isn’t too severe and of a specific category. Extrinsic staining that’s yellow or light brownish is caused due to staining foods. To remedy this, you can use whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpaste has a high concentration of fluoride and other chemicals, making them more effective than regular toothpaste. Make sure to brush twice daily for two minutes to gain maximum benefits.
The other option is using peroxide-based tooth bleaching, whitening strips, or gels. Apply the gel or strips over your teeth once or twice per day. You can brush the gel using your regular toothbrush after you have washed your teeth with whitening toothpaste. Continue for two weeks and see the improvements yourself.
You can use at-home bleaching trays with a peroxide-based gel or paste for mild to moderately stained teeth. You can brush the gel using a toothbrush, and the tray is designed to hold the gel against your teeth for a specific period. Continue for two weeks and monitor the results.
Since these are over-the-counter solutions, they are not tailored to your specific needs. We recommend contacting the dentist for professional treatment and ensuring the peroxide and fluoride do not further damage your teeth.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Use standard bleaching trays or ask your dentist to build a custom bleaching tray. Your dentist will add an adequate amount of hydrogen peroxide, and the tray will be custom fit for your mouth. This is more effective than using over-the-counter bleaching trays.
However, this only works if you have mild, extrinsic stains and nothing extensive for your dentist to fix.
If you have plaque buildup and tartar formation, you must get your teeth cleaned. Scaling is when your dentist uses scraping tools to remove plaque and tartar from cracks at the top of the gums. Polishing adds an extra layer of whitening that enhances the effects of scaling.
Professional whitening is the most effective way to fix stained teeth. Your dentist will factor in your teeth’ health and prescribe a specific treatment plan. It’s a fast-paced single-sitting solution. You will experience teeth sensitivity afterward, but no other significant side effects exist.
Schedule regular cleanings every six months, and following your dentist’s instructions will reduce staining. You might be brushing your teeth daily but doing it wrong. Brushing twice for two minutes at a 45 degrees angle is more effective. The kind of brush, toothpaste, and whether you do aggressive brushing all contribute to your oral hygiene. Your dentist will also tell you which areas of your teeth need more care. Plaque formation can cause tooth decay and gum disease, so it’s best to treat them urgently.
Professional teeth whitening may be different from the ultimate solution you are looking for. Dental veneers are another effective alternative if you have white stains due to fluorosis or have multiple issues to fix.
If you have a combination of cooked teeth, hypersensitivity in teeth, and tooth discoloration, go for high-quality porcelain veneers. It’s practical, especially if you have multiple types of stained teeth and need a cosmetic solution that whitening doesn’t cover.
Aging, trauma, and genetics can also cause teeth stains, and for the aging population, whitening may act as counterproductive. Dental veneers are bonded to the surface of teeth. Porcelain veneers are costlier than resin-based veneers, but they look perfectly natural and are stain-resistant.
These add the advantage of closing tooth gaps or providing a wholesome shape for misaligned and crooked teeth. Compared to getting new teeth or dental implants, dental veneers are the most lucrative option for fixing badly stained teeth.
Can You Permanently Fix Stained Teeth?
The answer depends on the severity of tooth discoloration and whether or not there are other dental issues to resolve. You might get professional whitening done, and the stains can return within a few months.
Or, you may be using over-the-counter products unaware of the underlying tooth decay. There are ways to manage tooth discoloration and keep the stains at bay.
Regular appointments with your dentist and maintaining good oral hygiene are part of the solution. The other more intensive solution is full mouth restoration, including but not limited to extensive dental work, surgery, and implants.
There isn’t any way to reverse the damage to gray, damaged teeth. Dental implants can provide you with white teeth, and you can maintain that. Your dentist knows when to administer a specific treatment, the length of treatment, and the longevity of its effects.
It’s best to ask your professional dental health provider about your treatment.
How to Prevent Tooth Discoloration and Fix Stained Teeth in Sacramento
Your ideal smile is all pearly white teeth aligned beautifully. We understand that and encourage all readers to remain optimistic about cosmetic solutions and dental procedures that can fix these common problems.
The first step is to consult dentists with practical experience. Dr. Andrew Owyoung and Dr. Alex Owyoung practice at Soft Touch Dentistry, providing 29 years of committed dental care to families in Sacramento.
As experts, we recommend altering your oral hygiene habits and refraining from overconsumption of staining foods. You’ll also have to cut back on coffee, tea, and wine. Make sure to rinse your mouth every time you eat or drink something. Rinsing prevents tartar buildup, and even fruits can cause damage to your teeth. While using over-the-counter products may not completely fix stains, it’s a good start.
Prevention on your own must be coupled with supervision from a dentist. Even if you don’t get completely white teeth, we assure you that your overall dental health will drastically improve. We perform restorative dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and teeth whitening, to name a few of our holistic services.
If there are underlying dental problems, our initial consultation process will reveal them. We will work with you on fixing them before they become a more significant issue. Our solutions will be long-lasting, provided you follow our instructions, and we appreciate it if you ask questions. The consultation process helps our patients understand what needs to be done. To this effect, we provide bilingual services in English and Spanish.
Soft Touch Dentistry
We are committed to providing excellent quality care to all our patients. While practicing as a family dental clinic, we have added incredible value to the lives of our patients. Everyone, including children, pre-teens, adolescents, and the elderly, deserves a beautiful smile, and we are here to help.
Cosmetic solutions and intensive surgeries are all parts of the options we will present to you. Each case is unique, and we always offer custom solutions. We build products with the latest technology and high-quality, biologically safe, and metal-free materials.