Teeth lose their pearly whiteness in many ways.
Our teeth absorb stains daily from drinks like coffee, sodas, tea & wine as well as from colored foods like chocolate, chicken mole and chili. Daily brushing removes some of the stain, but over time, it naturally darkens until the day we look in the mirror and see a yellowish-brown smile smiling back. How do we get back to white?
Gross Alert! Sometimes that “stain” is actually built up gunk on the surface of the teeth. If you or someone close to you has noticed that your teeth are getting stained, especially if they are getting yellow or chalky around the gumline, the first thing to do is get a professional dental cleaning. Our hygienists are great at removing all the gunk and they also know special techniques to reduce built up coffee stains.
First off, if you’re getting your teeth cleaned regularly (ie every six months), great job! So, your teeth are getting cleaned but they’re still stained and you want them whiter? You’re a great candidate for whitening.
Our patients love the whitening power of Kor. Considered the most advanced teeth whitening system available. Kor can handle tough stains as well as it does everyday ones. The new technology behind Kor’s gels minimizes tooth and gum sensitivity and doesn’t need any bulky old lights to activate whitening. Whether you’re getting ready for a storybook wedding, a job interview, a big anniversary or just an everyday confidence boost, Kor makes smiles stand out: cleaner and brighter and whiter.
No one loves a spotty smile!
Spots and dots are the sign that our teeth need a little extra TLC if we’re going to get them back to pearly white. Spots can be chalky white, gray or brown and may be signs of fluorosis, enamel hypoplasia, demineralization or cavities.
Fluorosis Spots: Too Much Fluoride
Fluoride makes teeth stronger. That’s why it’s in our toothpaste, our mouthwash and our water. However, getting too much fluoride when teeth are developing can cause unattractive white, brown or gray spots or streaks on our teeth. Whitening teeth with fluorosis requires removing or covering the spots with polishing, cosmetic bonding, veneers or crowns.
Enamel Hypoplasia Spots: Too Little Calcium
If we didn’t get enough calcium when our teeth were developing, our teeth are not only weaker than normal, but they also have spots where the enamel is thinner than it should be. This is called enamel hypoplasia. Enamel hypoplasia spots can happen because of a person’s diet or because they have a genetic condition that makes it hard for them to use the calcium from their food. These spots often appear very similar to fluorosis spots, but they are signs of weakened teeth not stronger teeth. Whitening teeth with enamel hypoplasia requires covering the teeth with restorations that hide the spots and reinforce the tooth’s enamel strength. The good news is that fixing these spots has a TRIPLE benefit: your “new” teeth will look better, will be stronger, and will be protected from rampant decay.
Demineralized Spots: Lost Calcium
When teeth begin healthy but lose calcium and get spotty later on, it’s called demineralization. It’s especially common for children with poor brushing habits or young adults with braces who let plaque build up on their teeth.
How does plaque suck calcium out of teeth? Plaque contains bacteria that produce acid. This acid sucks the calcium out of teeth leaving behind discolored, weak spots in the tooth enamel. These spots are how cavities start. To get rid of these spots, the plaque has to be removed and the demineralized spot covered. Repairing demineralized spots isn’t just cosmetic. It also strengthens the teeth! Click here to learn more.
Cavity Spots: Signs of Decay
Yikes! Some spots are actually cavities and they don’t look good at all. On the image here, you don’t have to be a dentist to see the dark brown cavity that is eating into the front tooth. Did you spot it? You can also see chalky white and lighter brown areas on the teeth nearby – those are demineralization spots and smaller cavities. Cavities form in unrepaired demineralized spots. Repairing a cavity can be as easy as a filling or as complicated as a root canal and crown depending on how deep the infected has eaten into the tooth. Sometimes what appears to be a tiny spot can actually be the tip of a very large cavity inside the tooth. To fix a cavity, we have to remove the dark, infected areas of the tooth and replace it with a filling or crown. This process restores tooth esthetics and function, and protects the nerve.
What’s that Yellow Stuff…? Plaque? Root? Dentin?Yellow teeth are special for several reasons. First of all, yellowing can occur just along the gumline, just at the tooth tips or all over the entire surface of a tooth. How a tooth yellows depends on what’s causing it to yellow.
Gunk and GumsIf the yellow is next to the gums, then it’s important to look and see if the yellow is built up plaque and tartar or if it is actually an area of recession where the gums have receded up the tooth showing the yellow surface of the tooth root. The solution to built up plaque is a professional dental cleaning. The solution for recession is more complex and involves protecting the sensitive root surface, changing in home care routines, gum therapy and sometimes gum grafting surgery to replace lost gum tissue.
Yellow StainIf the yellow covers the entire surface of the tooth, then it’s probably stain that is building up from something you’re eating or drinking. External stains can be removed with a special instrument called “prophy jet” during a visit with our dental hygienist. Internal stains can be whitened with professional whitening like we discussed in the Teeth Whitening Section.
Yellow TipsIf you’ve noticed the yellow showing through on the tips of your teeth, then you probably also notice that your teeth are starting to look all the same length. The yellow that you see is the soft inner part of the tooth, called the dentin. Dentin shows through as the enamel is worn away. Worn teeth are short with yellow tips and they don’t look good. However, they also contribute to several serious dental conditions. Click here to learn more.
From Yellow & Worn to White & Natural!The good news is that yellowed, worn teeth can be fixed. Of all the problems that cause discolored teeth, worn teeth require the largest scale solutions ranging from custom night guards to rebuilding teeth to jaw joint therapy or gum grafting. That being said, earlier intervention is always easiest and least expensive. If you or someone you know has teeth that are visibly shortening or wearing even, talk to us about your options. Save yourself the hassle of losing your teeth early and the expense of a full mouth rehabilitation by seeking help early. We can help you get a whiter, healthier smile! Click here to learn more.
Cavities? Yes. No. Maybe So…Tooth decay is the most common reason a tooth gets a dark black spot or turns black. These dark colored cavities start small and brown but darken in color as the infection deepens. Other less common causes for blackened teeth include metal showing through an old restoration, the nerve dying inside the tooth and the accumulation of black tartar.
Transforming Black to White
- Black cavities can be repaired by removing the infected, black part of the tooth and restoring it with a filling or crown.
- Black metal from an old crown disappears when replaced with a new one made from modern, tooth colored materials.
- Blackening from a dead nerve can be reduced with internal bleaching or covered up with Porcelain restorations.
- Black tartar can be removed with the appropriate gum therapy.
Find Your Best Whitening Solution – Click below to learn more
Do you wish you had whiter teeth?
If you do, you’re not alone. Teeth whitening is one of the quickest and least expensive…
What if you could have a new smile today?
All of us have something we don’t like about our smiles.