Teeth may be stained or discolored for a variety of reasons. If you want to make them brighter and whiter, you can do so safely. There are several options to choose from. You can visit your dentist for whitening treatments. While there are some side effects from teeth whitening, most conventional whitening treatments are safe to use as long as you follow the product’s directions
How do teeth become discolored?
Teeth can become discolored for several reasons.
- Extrinsic discoloration is when foods, beverages, or smoking habits stain your teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, foods with dyes, and tobacco can contribute to this type of staining. These stains affect the outside of your teeth.
- Extrinsic discoloration may be treated with whitening toothpastes that target the teeth’s outside stains.
- Intrinsic discoloration is from within the tooth. You may have intrinsic discoloration because of medication use, childhood illness, infection, tooth trauma, or aging.
- Intrinsic discoloration may need to be professionally bleached to get the same level, or better, of teeth whiteness.
You should decide how to whiten your teeth based on the type of staining you have.
Teeth whitening options
There are many methods and products available to whiten teeth. You may be confused about what to use and which are safe.
There are three general categories of whitening methods, those that are:
- administered by your dentist
- dispensed by your dentist to use at home
- obtained over the counter or made at home without the oversight of your dentist
- the type of discoloration you have
- the cost involved in the treatment
- the treatment method
- your age (this pertains to children)
- your dental history, including fillings and crowns
It’s useful to discuss whitening methods with your dentist before trying one. Your dentist can recommend a treatment plan that best addresses your needs. You’ll likely discuss a few different approaches to whitening teeth.
Keep in mind, the time it takes to whiten your teeth safely depends on the type of discoloration you have and the method you use to whiten your teeth.