Livonia Dentist Explains Teeth Stains and Whitening

beautiful bright young smileAre your teeth marred by one or more stains? Has the overall color of your teeth faded until they’re no longer pearly white? Teeth stains and discoloration are among the most common cosmetic dental blemishes, making teeth whitening one of the most sought-after dental treatments today. Unfortunately, even professional whitening treatments aren’t always effective at brightening a patient’s smile. Livonia dentist, Dr. James Stewart, is experienced at improving and restoring patients’ smiles, and can determine the cause of your discolored smile before prescribing an appropriate treatment.

Why Your Teeth Change Color

Teeth stains are classified as external (extrinsic) or internal (intrinsic). Extrinsic stains occur on the surfaces of your teeth and affect the semi-translucent enamel that covers and protects them. Outer stains are typically caused by darkly-pigmented food and beverages, poor hygiene, or smoking/chewing tobacco. Intrinsic stains describe the discoloration of your tooth’s inner tissues. Dentin, which is directly underneath enamel, and the nerves and blood vessels that make up the tooth’s pulp can change color when damaged by cracks and fractures or infected with tooth decay. Some illnesses and certain medications can also lead to intrinsic discoloration, which won’t respond to chemical teeth whitening.

Teeth Whitening for Extrinsic Stains

Dr. Steward offers a choice of in-office and take-home teeth whitening procedures, each designed to accommodate patients’ specific needs and preferences. In-office whitening can be completed in just over an hour, and our take-home kits allow you brighten your smile over the course of 10-14 days. Both treatments involve a bleaching agent that is applied to the surfaces of your teeth and penetrates underneath tooth enamel to eradicate stains and brighten the tooth’s appearance. Even seemingly severe external stains may be eliminated with professional teeth whitening.

Dealing with Intrinsic Discoloration

If your smile is discolored from within, then Dr. Stewart may recommend a cosmetic dental bonding, porcelain veneers, or a porcelain dental crown to rejuvenate its look. Bonding consists of placing, sculpting, and polishing tooth-colored composite resin over a tooth’s blemish to conceal the imperfection. Veneers are wafer-thin shells of dental porcelain that are bonded to the tooth’s front surface, creating a new, stain-free face for one or more teeth. A dental crown is a replica of your tooth’s visible portion, and can be placed over the tooth to completely conceal it. If a dental disease is the cause of your tooth discoloration, then Dr. Stewart will prescribe an appropriate treatment to restore the tooth’s health before addressing its appearance.

About James Stewart, DDS:

Our philosophy is that excellent dental begins with developing a relationship with the patient. James Steward, DDS, and our experienced staff proudly serve patients from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.