Staining and discoloration of teeth that resist over-the-counter whitening products may be removed by one of Dr. Rinando’s professional in-office whitening treatments. Reasons why teeth darken or discolor can include:
- Taking strong antibiotics as a child. Tetracycline staining is diagnosed using a black (ultraviolet light) that makes tetracycline-stained teeth fluorescent.
- Lack of brushing and flossing regularly
- Consistently exposing enamel to tea, coffee, cigarettes, chewing tobacco and berries containing pigment molecules called chromogens
- Aging (dental enamel naturally thins as a person ages)
- Having abnormally absorbent dental enamel
When brushing cannot remove enamel stains, Dr. Rinando recommends a special teeth whitening system either consisting of trays meant to be placed and worn at home, or by whitening them in-office without any special home care for those patients that prefer instant whitening.
One of the more convenient and affordable methods to restore whiteness to discolored teeth is the the tray whitening system. Patients then apply whitening gel to the inside of the trays and wear trays every day at home for a specified amount of time. When whitening trays are used correctly, patients may see teeth up to four or five shades whiter than before treatment.
Teeth whitening mouth trays are form-fitting, flexible trays that prevent the whitening gel from being diluted by saliva or swallowed as it works to remove stains. Because patients wearing trays do not have to worry about “tasting” the gel (a problem common to people using brush-on whitening gels), the experience of whitening teeth is significantly optimized over non-prescribed whitening treatments and naturally leads to better adherence to a teeth whitening plan.
Professional strength bleaching gels contain specific percentages of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, which are the active whitening ingredient. As soon as these molecules confront stained teeth enamel, they begin dissolving these stains by breaking them apart until teeth are free of stains. When the desired shade of white is achieved, patients will need to brush their teeth twice daily, use a fluoridated oral rinse and floss regularly to prevent stains from re-developing on and between teeth.
Intrinsic staining frequently occurs to children taking strong antibiotics but whose permanent teeth have not yet emerged. Consequently, some antibiotics cause yellowing of teeth while they are still in the gums.
For intrinsic discoloration (staining of the inner layer, or dentin of teeth) due to taking certain medications, trauma or years of poor oral hygiene, Dr. Rinando may suggest “whitening” teeth with paper-thin, porcelain coverings called veneers that are permanently attached to the front of teeth using dental adhesive. Enamel-like dental crowns that fit over stained teeth like tiny caps are also another option to restore aesthetics to intrinsically stained teeth.