Sunday, 22 February 2009

Tooth Discoloration

Many people have discolored teeth and it makes then very self-conscious about their smile. While slight discoloration is expected as we age, there are some things that can speed up the darkening of our teeth:

• Due to the extremely high acid content in soft drinks, the deterioration of the enamel on your teeth is sped up.

• Drinking red wine, coffee and tea. Any dark liquids have the potential to stain your teeth. Heat from tea and coffee causes are small fractures in your tooth enamel.

• Using tobacco products. Smoking will cause a yellowish build up on the teeth. These kinds of stains are typically more difficult to remove and will take longer to lighten using whitening treatments.

• Certain medications. The two most common medications that have been shown to darken teeth are tetracycline and minocycline.

• Too much fluoride, whether it be water or different fluoride based products. Fluoride discoloration typically happens during the development stage of the tooth.

• Any sort of of trauma to your teeth can lead to a discoloration. This happens because there is a tiny hemorrhage inside the tooth and the blood that is forced in there will make the tooth appear darker.

Over-the-Counter Tooth Whitening

There are many tooth whitening products available on the market today. However, they may not be effective or even damage your teeth. Products that may whiten your teeth include:

• Chewing gum doesn't have much of a bleaching agent, so whitening results are very minor. However, activating the saliva may help some.

• Whitening toothpastes should only be used in moderation due to the abrasives they contain. Long use of those abrasive materials will actually wear down the tooth enamel.

• At-home tooth bleaching kits can provide decent results, but they can be difficult and messy to use. Also, since they typically don't provide dental dams, ingestion of the bleach could upset people's stomachs.

Professional Teeth Whitening

While any of the products above have the capability of providing results, but professional bleaching services are a better choice because:

• The bleaching agents are much stronger in the professional products which will lead to faster and better results.

• They are safer to use because your dentist will use the proper methods to ensure you don't ingest the bleach, unlike over-the-counter products.

• Your dentist can assess you condition and your expectations and help you make the right procedure for your needs.

Dental Bonding and Porcelain Veneers

If your staining is too severe, it is important to realize that tooth bleaching might not give you the results you desire. However, there are still a couple options to gaining the beautiful, white smile you've always wanted:

• Tooth bonding

• Porcelain veneers

Dental bonding is a procedure in which a type of resin is sculpted and adhered to your teeth. This product is extremely strong and durable and it is indistinguishable from your natural tooth enamel. This resin is essentially replacing the enamel on your tooth, which will hide stubborn stains. Tooth bonding is quick and can typically be completed in one office visit.

Porcelain veneers are another option to hide stubborn stains. The veneers are very thin layers of porcelain that are affixed to the tooth. Your natural tooth is carefully filed down in order for the veneers to properly adhere to the tooth. This option will take slightly longer and involve a couple of trips to the office.

If you are one of the many people in the Chicago area with discolored teeth, then there is a tooth whitening procedure for you. Please contact Chicago's Colonial Dental Group to speak with their experienced cosmetic dentists.

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