Stained, yellowed teeth can unfortunately have a negative impact on an otherwise healthy smile. Genetic or environmental elements can cause dental discoloration.
Professional teeth whitening can dramatically brighten your smile and enhance your overall appearance. Dr. Rafael Mercado offers this treatment at Castle Hills Family Dental. In some cases, however, teeth whitening may not be an effective solution. In this informative article, our Castle Hills, TX team explores different types of staining and teeth whitening alternatives.
Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Stains
There are two primary types of dental stains: extrinsic and intrinsic. Here, we will take a brief look at the differences between the two:
- Extrinsic stains: These are caused by environmental factors, such as dark-colored foods and drinks. Red wine, coffee, tea, soda, berries, and other similar items can darken the enamel over time. These stains stay at the surface and can be successfully treated with professional teeth whitening. Smoking can also cause extrinsic stains.
- Intrinsic stains: Unlike extrinsic stains, this type of discoloration is due to genetics or trauma. Intrinsic stains affect the deep inner layers of a tooth. As a result, teeth whitening is not effective. Patients with intrinsic stains require alternative treatments.
Teeth Whitening Alternatives
If your dental stains are intrinsic, or the doctor has advised that you require an alternative teeth whitening solution, your options may include dental bonding, porcelain veneers, or Snap-On Smile®.
This treatment involves camouflaging cosmetic imperfections with a composite resin material. Color-matched to your natural teeth, composite resin is added to the affected teeth, then shaped and molded. Finally, the material is hardened with a special dental curing light and the teeth are polished to a natural-looking shine.
Bonding is an affordable, effective way to conceal discoloration. It is also noninvasive, and can be reversed if necessary. In general, this process needs to be redone every five to seven years.
Another popular teeth whitening alternative is porcelain veneers. Unlike bonding, veneers are custom-made restorations, which are affixed to the front surfaces of the teeth. A lab technician creates them by combining multiple layers of medical-grade ceramic. Since porcelain reflects light like natural enamel, veneers are incredible lifelike.
In order to place veneers, some enamel must be removed. This prepares the tooth surface for adhesion to achieve optimal results. Veneers are strong and durable, but they do not last forever. On average, they last about 10 to 15 years, and will need to be replaced eventually. But with proper care, they can last upwards of two decades.
Patients who want a quick and easy smile transformation can choose Snap-On Smile. This appliance fits over your natural teeth, concealing any cosmetic imperfections. Keep in mind that this device is removable. It does not alter your natural teeth in any way.
To create your Snap-On Smile, your Castle Hills, TX dentist takes impressions of your teeth. These are then sent to a dental lab where a technician fabricates the appliance according to your dentist’s specifications.
Contact Our Practice for More Information
Has dental staining taken a toll on your smile? If you are not a candidate for teeth whitening, there are plenty of other treatments that can help you achieve your desired results. To learn more, schedule a consultation at our Castle Hills, TX practice. Contact us anytime or call our office at (210) 732-4570.