Frequently Asked Questions
What causes teeth discoloration?
A darker, duller appearance of teeth is a natural part of aging as the underlying dentin darkens and enamel wears down. The porous enamel also becomes stained from cigarettes, some beverages (like coffee, tea, and soft drinks), and some foods. Tooth discoloration can also result from taking certain antibiotics during childhood when teeth are developing and from excessive consumption of fluoride.
Does tooth whitening work for everyone?
No, it doesn’t. It depends on what is causing the discoloration. It works beautifully for superficial stains caused by beverages and foods. Inherent stains caused by internally absorbed antibiotics, fluoride, and minerals can be permanent and nonresponsive to bleaching techniques. Bonding or veneers can offer another solution to whiten permanently discolored teeth as well as address other issues such as tooth shape, misalignment, chips, etc.
What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are a conservative answer to crowns that essentially cover only the visible part of the tooth. This preserves a greater amount of the natural structure of the tooth, removing only the outer layer for veneer placement. Long-lasting, individually shaped veneers can lengthen, whiten, and straighten teeth as well as correct gaps and repair chips and cracks. Since they are nonporous, they will never stain or discolor.
How is bonding different from veneers?
Bonding restores a damaged or stained tooth by applying a composite resin material to the surface. It is a very conservative way to repair a tooth and improve appearance and requires only a single appointment to complete. It is more prone to cracking and breakage than a veneer and it will discolor over time.
Are there any advantages to tooth-colored fillings besides cosmetic?
In addition to the cosmetic advantages of being essentially invisible, composite and porcelain fillings bond to the teeth. They are often stronger and more wear resistant that metal amalgam fillings.