Is your smile looking less brilliant? Are you looking for whiter teeth? As you age, teeth can become discolored for many reasons. Nerve damage to a tooth, staining from drinks such as coffee and tea, as well as the aftereffects of a tooth restoration can cause discoloration. In some cases, stains result from taking antibiotics or chemo drugs. While discolored teeth can be a vanity issue, there are no real health concerns related directly to tooth discoloration, says Dr. Rachel Davis of Davis Dental Center.
There are several ways to treat the unsightly problem. Before you begin any whitening plan, visit your dentist to ensure there are no underlying issues, such as decay, that could be exacerbated by the whitening process. “We want to know you have a healthy mouth before we whiten,” Dr. Davis says.
Solution #1 Temporary Whitening
There are three options for semi-permanent whitening. First, over-the-counter whitening strips offer a quick-fix to remove surface stains but yield short-term results. Second, visit your dentist for in-office whitening trays. Similar to whitening strips, the trays are generally more effective and results can last longer. Finally, there are whitening processes such as Zoom or Kor Whitening that require both in-office and at-home steps. They can be highly effective and offer long-term results. Dr. Davis says there is a big commitment of both time and money, especially for the Kor Whitening process, and you have to stick to the treatment plan and its required maintenance steps.
Solution #2 Permanent Whitening
Crowns, veneers, or bonding offer a permanent whitening solution. These in-office procedures will produce results that last. They are more expensive and invasive, requiring up to four office visits to complete. While these options offer a more permanent solution, Dr. Davis says that basic upkeep, like visiting your dentist every six months and using fluoride, are important to maintain newly whitened teeth.
By Tami Pyles