Stained Teeth – Is there an alternative to veneers?
Stained teeth come from many things. Tea, coffee, tobacco products, colored sweets, wine, cokes and a few others come to mind. Areas where the tooth has become “soft” from enamel erosion or decay can become stained much easier. In terms of the sweets, if your tongue is turning funny colors then you can probably bet that they are also affecting your teeth. Don’t want to spill wine, coffee or tea on your shirt or carpet because of staining? Well, they can do the same to your teeth as well. Notice what the filter looks like after you smoke a cigarette? You get the point.
Some stains I’ve seen personally are right on the surface of your front teeth, where the teeth looked kind of chalky, stains formed. These were cases of the enamel getting “soft” because of erosion or decay.
What to do with stained teeth-
Whitenings, veneers, composite fillings; these were the common methods of removing stains from your teeth. Whitenings sometimes did not bring about the desired affect by themselves, veneers are a tad pricey, and composite resin can bring about the affect of one part of your tooth looking a different shade than another part of your tooth. Sure, veneers can do the job of resolving a stubborn stain that won’t go away, but, they (veneers) also permanently change your teeth. Some of the tooth surface itself has to be taken off for a veneer to attach to the surface.
There is a new product out that has made taking care of these stains possible without damaging the tooth structure itself. It’s actually made by the same company that does the whitenings we use, and it’s remarkable. Stained teeth get a whoopin’, so to speak. In fact, previous cases where the doctor would have needed to do veneers to handle a stained tooth now only require this procedure to handle. It will save people a lot too, both monetarily speaking and tooth-structurally speaking.
Basically the stain removing product is polished onto the teeth (it contains about 6.6% hydrochloric acid…that’s pretty powerful stuff), the whitener penetrates the tooth enamel and begins removing the stain. It also contains micro-particles so that it provides a light abrasion as well to further penetrate the stains. The “product” is called Opalustre. We just recently started using it and it’s already proving successful upon application. Opalustre is geared towards de-calcified areas (the chalky parts of your teeth that are stained), and it, again, works like a champ.
So, if you have stained teeth that are not responding to traditional whitening methods, this may be just the thing you need.
For broad “staining” of teeth a whitening could be all you need. For instance, if you drink a lot of tea you may notice general staining of your teeth. I would try to do a regular in office whitening before trying anything else. With this “new kid on the block” however, you can do a bit more to those really stubborn areas of staining. Comment with any questions or call in!
Stay healthy my friends.