Whether you have an important life event coming up or you just want your everyday smile to be flawless, whitening your teeth is an easy and effective way to improve the look of your smile. White teeth are associated with youth, vibrancy, and beauty. However, it is not always easy to keep a perfect white smile.
After all, our teeth are porous and absorb colored pigments from the foods and beverages we consume on a daily basis. Enamel also thins with age, allowing the yellowish dentin layer to show through. This ultimately means that no matter what, our teeth will eventually lose their white color. However, there are a few ways that your cosmetic dentist can help you keep your teeth white and brighter. Here are the best cosmetic dental treatments for stained teeth:
Professional Teeth Whitening
The most popular method for treating stained teeth is to have them professionally whitened by your cosmetic dentist. During a professional whitening treatment, a whitener is applied to the surface of your teeth and left in place for a designated amount of time. Since teeth are porous, the whitener will be absorbed into the enamel and dentin layers of the teeth, where it will dissolve years of stains over the next 24 hours. The result is teeth that are usually about 5-10 shades whiter than before. However, it is important to note that teeth whitening procedures are not effective against stains due to aging or medications. Whitening procedures are also not able to prevent future stains. This means that the results from whitening treatments tend to last only about 1-3 years, depending on diet, lifestyle, and oral hygiene habits.
Another popular method for treating stained teeth is to have veneers applied. Veneers are thin, porcelain shells that are customized in a dental lab before being adhered to the front side of the teeth. Besides improving the color of your teeth, veneers can also address issues with the size, shape, spacing, or alignment of your teeth. In fact, it is their versatility that makes veneers so popular. Unlike whitening procedures, veneers do not remove stains from the teeth. Instead, veneers are used to cover up stained teeth, especially in cases where the stains do not respond to whitening treatments. Veneers also require enamel modification and at least two dental appointments for placement. However, they last about 10-15 years once applied and are resistant to future stains.
Although not as common as professional teeth whitening procedures or veneers, dental crowns can also be used to treat stained teeth. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that fit over the visible portion of an existing tooth. Like veneers, crowns can be used to improve the color, size, shape, spacing, and alignment of the teeth. Unlike veneers, however, crowns cover much more of the natural tooth structure. Because of this, they also require more enamel modification than veneers. However, dental crowns are also considered to be stronger because they fit over the entire tooth rather than just the front. Because of this, crowns are usually used on the back teeth, while veneers are primarily used on the front teeth. Since dental crowns can also be fabricated from porcelain, they last about 10-15 years and are resistant to future stains.
As you can see, there are a few different options when it comes to treating stained teeth. Professional whitening treatments work to remove stains, while veneers and crowns work to conceal them. There are also different factors to consider about each treatment such as how long it takes to complete, whether it is permanent, and how long the results last. Since there are so many things to consider, it is important to speak with your local cosmetic dentist about which option would work best for your smile.
Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.