Some tooth discoloration is inevitable, but there are ways to prevent it. Avoid consuming foods and drinks that contribute to teeth discoloration on a regular basis. Don't smoke or chew tobacco, and practice excellent oral hygiene and have dental X-rays taken during your exams to check for any signs of trauma.
If you already have tooth discoloration and brushing doesn't seem to work, there are ways to help you get rid of it. Thanks to cosmetic dentistry, there are several options for removing or covering tooth stains:
- Ultrasonic Cleaning -- Now a standard form of professional dental cleaning, ultrasonic vibrations are used to remove some extrinsic stains caused by a buildup of calculus. Although it won't change the color of your teeth, an ultrasonic dental cleaning can be performed during regular dental visits to limit tooth stains.
- Teeth Whitening -- To completely lighten your teeth, you can try teeth whitening. Your dentist can provide you with teeth whitening trays to wear at home. These trays are formed from a mold of your teeth, and hold a gel containing the active agent peroxide. Worn daily, at-home bleaching trays can whiten teeth in 1-2 weeks.
- Laser Teeth Whitening -- Like teeth whitening, laser teeth whitening uses a peroxide gel to lighten teeth. But laser teeth whitening is done in the dental office in about an hour. After the gel is applied to teeth, a laser uses heat to activate the teeth whitening agents, with excellent results in a shorter amount of time.
- Dental Veneers -- In the cases where whitening just won't work, veneers can completely cover tooth discoloration. Dental veneers are wafer-like tooth coverings often made of porcelain that are cemented onto teeth. Porcelain dental veneers are also perfect for broken teeth or slightly crooked teeth.
Despite some reported sensitivity, all of these procedures are safe and effective in treating teeth discoloration when administered by a dental professional. Over-the-counter bleaching agents are also available, with varied results. Some whitening toothpastes may help, but they will not be able to remove intrinsic stains. Regardless, you don't want to spend all that money fixing your teeth just to go back to bad habits -- proper oral hygiene is needed to maintain the results of your cosmetic dental procedure.