A white smile is universally desired. Yet, the mass market products you find at your local pharmacy are not intended to treat all types of tooth discoloration. The fact is that tooth stains can originate from a variety of sources. The most common is food choices. Foods and beverages that contain dark pigments have a tendency to discolor the enamel layer of the teeth. These respond to conventional treatments.
However, some teeth may display signs of demineralization. This can appear as white discolorations on the teeth and even physical imperfections or dullness. Demineralization can be result from poor oral hygiene habits and even developmental disorders. This type of discoloration will not respond to whitening toothpastes but instead will need to be grinded off, depending on its severity. Demineralized teeth can also appear brown in color, which can even be more aesthetically displeasing. This post is not intended to cover all the various causes of discoloration, but it is meant to underscore the importance of seeking a professional opinion. Without this, your attempts to treat discoloration may be futile. Below you will find some of the most popular treatments for battling yellowed or otherwise discolored teeth.
In-Office Tooth Whitening
Professional tooth whitening is conducted using hydrogen peroxide. A gel containing this active ingredient is applied to your teeth and then activated using a specialized UV light. The peroxide penetrates your teeth and alters the stain molecules, effectively making them disappear. There are other variations of in-office whitening where a whitening agent is placed inside the tooth. This is used for teeth with traumatic injuries that have discolored. In-office whitening runs several hundred dollars and can last for a considerable amount of time with proper upkeep.
Porcelain veneers are an expensive but permanent method to alter the shade of the teeth. They can also hide misalignment, gaps, worn down teeth, chips and other aesthetic issues. In order to place porcelain veneers, the cosmetic dentist has to trim the outer layer of the teeth known as the enamel. This provides clearance for the veneer and an ideal bonding surface. Modern-day veneers can be made on-site if the dentist’s office is so equipped, otherwise they take about two weeks. They have a long life-longevity of ten years or more, but require good upkeep to look their best. Plan to spend $1,200 or more for each tooth you have outfitted. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry provides a good overview of this procedure.
Snap-on Smile is one of the newer treatments for tooth discoloration. This device is specially intended for those with limited financial means. It is made of acrylic resin and molded to fit over your existing teeth. The patient has the option of choosing the shape of the appliance as well as the color. A brief consultation appointment consists of a screening followed by impression taking. The impression is then sent to the lab to manufacture the appliance. Only certain dentists offer the Snap-on smile appliance, but at about $1,200 per dental arch is it is well worth the investment! You can see YourConfidentSmile.net for a more detailed explanation.
Factors to Consider:
There are many factors to consider when deciding upon the course of treatment, Cost, time-frame, longevity of results, and maintenance all account for part of the decision. Speak with your practitioner to get a clear idea of what each treatment entails before making a premature decision.