The teeth can be discolored due to the lack of proper oral hygiene, trauma, or staining compounds. Inheritance and genetics also play a role in tooth discoloration. However, observing some simple tips and following a proper diet can help prevent tooth discoloration, thereby preventing additional costs and oral diseases.
Symptoms of tooth discoloration
Tooth discoloration includes enamel stains as white streaks, yellow shadows, or light to dark brown stains. One can notice yellow stains on the teeth when the enamel is abraded, or the crown is visible.
Diagnosis of tooth discoloration
No test is needed to diagnose tooth discoloration, and a dentist can easily observe and recognize discoloration.
Some types of tooth discoloration, such as coffee stains, can be vanished by professional cleaning. However, most stains are permanent. Sometimes discoloration can be disappeared with whitening gels, and sometimes severe discolorations require a veneer or implant.
Prevention of tooth discoloration
Brushing after each meal helps prevent some stains. According to dentists, wash your mouth with water after drinking alcohol, coffee, or other colored drinks or foods. Intrinsic stains caused by damage to a nerve or blood vessel are sometimes preventable. You may require root canal treatment for eliminating the decayed tooth pulp.
To prevent intrinsic stains in children, avoid overuse of fluoride. After formation of enamel, fluoride cannot discolor the teeth.
Treatment of tooth discoloration
Most external stains due to foods and drinks can vanish through regular professional cleaning and home measures, including brushing, flossing, and washing after each meal. Whitening agents can often remove tooth enamel stains. In this method, the dentist uses a whitening gel which results in significant brightening of the tooth in 30-45 minutes; this method is called office bleaching. Discoloration can be resolved at home as well through a method known as home bleaching. The orthodontist gives you a whitening gel and mouth guard to be used at home. The home bleaching method takes longer times, usually between 2 to 4 weeks.
The tooth whitening products can also be purchased from pharmacies. These products have a lower whitening effect than those used in the office by dentists, orthodontists, or restorative specialists. The whitening agents are in the form of gels or tapes. The safety of pharmacy products are less than those used by dentists.
Whitening toothpaste may remove minor stains and cannot affect your teeth color. Whitening has no effect on the discoloration of teeth undergone root canal treatment. However, the dentist can use a whitening agent within the tooth or use a laminate or veneer to cover the tooth. On the other hand, whitening agents cannot remove some stains, such as those from tetracycline. In these cases, the dentists or the restorative specialist can resolve the problem with laminate or veneer. This method can be used for cracked or damaged teeth as well. Laminate is a thin ceramic layer that covers the external surface of the teeth. The tooth can also be covered with a tooth-colored composite.
Time to visit the dentist
Home remedies for tooth discoloration and stains are recommended for only one week, or the dentist may suggest home bleaching. Then visit the dentist for the necessary measures. The dentist should check any teeth discoloration in children.