30 April 2023

Teeth discoloration and whitening (part I)

Teeth whitening is a process in which stains and discolorations are being removed. It brightens the shade of our teeth and improves their aesthetics.


However, before we jump right into discussing methods of whitening, let's consider the following: what can cause that yellow, darker shade of teeth?



Teeth can become discolored as a result of:


🟡 your diet. Frequent consumption of coffee or black tea causes the plaque that accumulates on the teeth to turn a dark shade, from amber to dark brown. In addition, discoloration can also result from choosing staining, dark foods and juices


🟡 drugs and medications. Some may contribute to the intensification of discolorations and plaque. A good example can be chlorhexidine, used in many popular mouth rinses aimed at patients with periodontal/gum problems. If we keep on using it longer than recommended by the manufacturer, it can lead to the accumulation of darker deposits on our tooth enamel


🟡 smoking cigarettes and using tobacco products. Yellow, darkened smile of a smoker is a sight familiar to everyone. This is yet another of numerous reasons to try giving up (or never taking up) this type of substances (!)


🟡 insufficient hygiene. Improperly cleaned teeth, accumulated tartar, plaque – all of them contribute to the changing appearance of our teeth, their perceived darkening and yellowing


🟡 dead teeth and post-traumatic discolorations. Teeth with pulp that is no longer alive may start changing the shade of the crown, towards darker, gray or even bluish shades


🟡 damage caused by caries


🟡 amalgam fillings. Sometimes the older type of fillings (so-called "black" or "silver" ones) lead to blue-gray discoloration of the tooth's hard tissues


🟡 discoloration resulting from physiological processes. Along with progressing years, we will be able to see in our teeth more and more shades of the so-called dentin (darker tissue beneath the enamel)


🟡 genetic make-up.



If the discoloration is due to the tartar, you can brighten the shade of your teeth by having scaling performed on you. During this process, the tartar is removed. Aesthetic considerations are not the only ones at play here, because by getting rid of harmful calculus deposits on our teeth, we are taking care of our gums and periodontium, which helps to keep the teeth in our mouth for years.


If you happen to be struggling with darker deposits, e.g. from food or ones brought on by difficulties in maintaining proper hygiene (like the time one is wearing braces), then dental sandblasting can prove to be very helpful. Your hygienist or dentist will remove the dark spots, rediscovering the natural brightness of your smile. They will also help you understand how to take care of your oral hygiene effectively, in order to avoid similar problems in the future.


Obviously, in order to have a bright, healthy smile, treating caries as well as dead teeth is vital.




As for other methods, including the "real", at-the-dentist’s whitening, we will cover them in the next article. Staying in touch with us – by following our Facebook and Instagram, as well as subscribing to the newsletter on Interdent’s home page – can simplify the process of keeping track of the new materials and pieces of information. 🙂


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