Woman with white teeth smiling

Does teeth whitening remove stains?

Teeth whitening removes most stains, depending on the type of stain and whitening process you use.

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, most adults believe whiter, brighter teeth is the best way to improve their smile.  Teeth whitening is a simple solution to brightening teeth.  There are many teeth whitening options on the market today that fit all budgets and goals.

When patients visit our office for teeth whitening, we are frequently asked if teeth whitening removes stains.  Let’s first understand the cause of the stains.  Then, we can identify the best solution to remove the discoloration.

There are several different types of stains that can discolor your teeth.

Age and Teeth Whitening

As we age, our teeth naturally become yellowed and darker.  This change happens over time as your enamel thins and the dentin darkens.

At-home whitening toothpaste and solutions typically do not work.  Professional whitening systems, such as a take-home whitening trays or in-office whitening procedure by your dentist may be the best option.   Keep in mind, your teeth will be whiter and brighter, but not as white as they were when you were younger.  

Internal Tooth Discoloration and Teeth Whitening

This type of “stain” is typically caused by exposure to high levels of fluoride, tetracycline, use of antibiotics as a child, developmental disorders, tooth decay, restorations, root canal issues, and trauma.  Typically, these factors cause internal changes in the enamel of the tooth and the dentin, which result in a discoloration of the exterior of the teeth.

Because these stains originate inside your teeth, at-home whitening toothpaste or whitening strips most likely will not work to whiten your teeth. In fact, internal tooth discoloration is the most difficult group of stains to whiten.  Professional teeth whitening at your dentist’s office is the most effective way to whiten and brighten teeth that have been discolored internally.   At The Grove City Center for Dentistry, we will recommend a custom teeth whitening tray and take-home professional whitening gel as the first step in the whitening process.

External Tooth Discoloration and Teeth Whitening

These factors include smoking, foods with tannins, coffee, tea, carrots, oranges, and other foods that darken or yellow the teeth.  Your teeth’s enamel comes into contact with every single thing you eat or drink.  And, over time, the food and beverages you consume gradually darken or stain your teeth.

Because these stains are on the outer level of your teeth, you can most likely remove the discoloration.  We recommend our patients use whitening toothpaste at home.  Colgate Optic White is an effective option.  There are several over-the-counter whitening products on the market today, such as Crest 3D White Strips.  Start with these whitening options first, as they may remove any stains you may have.  

For more difficult-to-remove stains, we recommend professional whitening gel.  At The Grove City Center for Dentistry, we use Opalescence for our patients.  There are several options, including custom trays and take-home whitening gel.  

What happens when teeth whitening doesn’t work?

Even if you have tried multiple whitening options, there are still ways to brighten your teeth. Many people will have cosmetic bonding or porcelain veneers placed on their teeth to help hide any stains or tooth discoloration.

In summary, teeth whitening does remove most stains, depending on the cause.  And, there are dental treatments that can help cover any stains if you do not like the shade or brightness of your teeth.  Contact The Grove City Center for Dentistry today to learn more about the best whitening options for your goals.

 

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