What causes tooth discoloration?
Tooth discoloration can happen for many reasons such as:
• Taking certain medicines
• Tobacco use
• Family heredity
• Exposure to colored drinks like coffee, tea and wine
• Frequent exposure to brightly colored foods
• Tooth injury
• Medical conditions
• Normal aging
Avoiding the factors we have control over is a great place to start preventing further tooth discoloration. But for color changes that are already present, avoidance and even careful tooth brushing may not prevent further staining. Fortunately, tooth whitening is a common and safe procedure.
How teeth whitening works
Our teeth are like sponges, with small openings (pores) that absorb anything we place into our mouths. Color pigments from foods and substances can enter those pores and stain deep layers of the teeth, resulting in tooth discoloration.
Regular teeth cleaning by your dental team is an important part of keeping your teeth, gums and other surfaces inside your mouth healthy. However, those cleanings cannot always remove deep tooth discoloration. Teeth whitening is a different treatment that uses special gel to gradually push the stains through the pores to remove them.
Professional teeth whitening is very safe and effective. We begin by making a model of your teeth. We use this model to create a custom mouthpiece that fits your teeth perfectly. You will take this mouth piece home along with tooth whitening gel. Follow these steps for tooth whitening:
• Place a very small drop of gel into each tooth space of the mouth piece. Do this for both top and bottom mouth pieces, if you have both.
• Place mouth piece(s) into your mouth. Make sure you are placing the top mouth piece on your top teeth, and the bottom mouth piece on your bottom teeth.
• Gently press the mouth pieces into place. Start with one finger at the top of each tooth and then move your finger toward the base of the tooth. This will help the gel spread evenly across each tooth surface. If you are not sure how to do this, contact our office for more help. Follow your dentist’s recommendations on how often to perform tooth whitening at home. It may take two to four weeks, depending on the shade you wish to achieve. Many people follow a maintenance schedule of tooth whitening after that.
Some people may experience tooth sensitivity with teeth whitening.