Removal of Stains

How Hornsby Dental Clinic gives you options for removing stains on your teeth:

Stained or discoloured teeth can cause social embarrassment or psychological trauma. Perhaps you’ve experimented with different toothpastes or bought home bleaching kits to whiten your smile, only to find that these options fall short of your expectations. Fortunately, your dentist can provide suitable cosmetic treatments with good long-term results.

There are several types of stains:
Surface stains occur between teeth and on the surfaces of crooked teeth. They usually look brown, and often they are caused by coffee, tea and tobacco. To prevent surface stains, cut back on coffee, coca cola, tea and red wine, and avoid smoking. Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings, and brush and floss regularly.
Soft deposits are caused by plaque or tartar build-up. Often these start from bacteria, and are usually due to inadequate oral hygiene. They can look like dark and whitish areas around the gum line, and can be removed after dental scaling and polishing.

Tetracycline stains can be yellow, brown or gray. Multiple in-office bleaching can create a much whiter smile.
Intrinsic stains look like white splotches or bands of brownish gray on the tooth surface. They may be due to genetics, disease, medications or advanced decay by old silver fillings.

Polishing is the simplest way to remove stains. It is a painless procedure where your dentist applies a paste to the surfaces of your teeth using a rotating instrument. Deeper intrinstic stains may require for advanced treatment such as microabrasion. Polishing is best if you:
Have only slight surface staining
Want a natural look
Want to spend a small amount of time and money

Teeth Whitening involves using an oxidising agent to lighten the teeth, and is best for moderate surface and intrinsic stains. Your dentist may recommend in-office or home bleaching depending on the nature of your stains. Bleaching is best if you:

  • Have mild to moderate tetracycline, fluoride or trauma-related staining
  • Don’t want to spend too much money
  • Are happy with the shape of your teeth
  • Prefer a more conservative, noninvasive approach

Make the most of bleaching:

  • Tell your dentist if you have both crowns and natural teeth that you want to be lightened
  • Avoid consuming citrus fruits, juices, soft drinks and antacids after bleaching
  • Decrease your intake of refined sugars before and after bleaching

Bonding involves applying composite resin to the existing tooth, and can mask many types of stains to create a natural-looking and attractive smile. However, bonded teeth tend to stain easily and require periodic repair. Bonding may be best if you:
Have white or brown spots or staining due to excessive wear or silver fillings
Are not a heavy smoker or coffee drinker
Are willing to take extra care of your new smile
Want a less expensive and less invasive option (compared with veneers or crowns)
Take care of your bonded teeth:
Do not chew ice or bite your fingernails
Brush regularly
Floss daily, but pull floss out horizontally, not vertically
Have your teeth cleaned at least four times yearly
If you clench or grind your teeth at night, use a nightguard
Minimise consumption of coffee, tea, colas and sugar
Don’t smoke
Cut your food into small pieces and use your back teeth to chew

Porcelain veneers is one of the most exciting techniques in cosmetic dentistry today. It involves bonding a thin laminated porcelain veneer to the tooth surface. Its primary advantages are the beauty and durability of the material. Porcelain doesn’t stain like composite resin, and remains attractive for a much longer period of time. In addition, porcelain veneers can improve not only the colour but also the size and shape of your teeth for a total smile makeover. Porcelain veneers are best if you:

  • Want a significant change in the colour of your teeth
  • Are willing to undergo slightly more invasive and time-consuming procedures
  • Can afford the higher cost of treatment
  • Want highly aesthetic results that will last longer

Placing crowns is a more costly and time-consuming option compared with other solutions to staining. However, it can produce near-perfect aesthetic results. Crowns require removal of natural tooth structure, so are usually only recommended for stained teeth that have additional aesthetic and/or functional problems. Crowns may be best if you:

  • Have many large defective fillings
  • Want the most aesthetic and longest-lasting results
  • Are looking for a complete smile makeover, including improvement in the shape of your teeth
  • Have discoloured teeth that also need some realignment or straightening