Some Things to Consider Before Whitening Your Teeth

Knowledge as to the cause of dental staining is important as it allows the dentist to plan the technique to be used in the whitening procedure. Staining and and discoloration of teeth are caused by many factors and traditionally can be divided into extrinsic and intrinsic stains.

Extrinsic stains such as food from vegetables, from tea or coffee, smoking or from some medications can occur on the exposed surfaces of teeth. Those that are accessible by toothbrush can be easily removed. While those stains that occur along the gingival margins and interproximal areas are difficult to clean by a toothbrush. These stains can be removed by means of scaling and polishing by a dentist, or by tooth bleaching which can produce dramatic results. Currently, there are also specially formulated toothpastes available in the market to remove such stains from the teeth.

Intrinsic stains which are the result of color changes of internal structures of the teeth caused by systemic or local factors, are more difficult to remove. Examples are hereditary factors, fluorosis, trauma to teeth, systemic conditions caused by childhood illness, stains caused by antibiotics such as tetracycline during pregnancy and early childhood or stain from dental materials. Of course, the present tooth whitening procedures can remove most intrinsic stains. Teeth that stain with age seem to disappear very quickly when bleached. However those that cannot be removed by bleaching, can be improved by use of porcelain veneers, porcelain crowns or composites.