Having bright white teeth has become a norm for our society. It used to be
that only children and few young adults had white teeth. Just like getting gray hair, getting
yellow teeth were an accepted change as we went thru life. The media and celebrities have
changed our standards. Just like there is no reason to see and you do not expect to see an
active woman of any age to have gray hair, you do not expect to see a man or woman of any
age to have yellow discolored teeth.
External causes of staining
There are many reasons for discolored teeth. The most common is the accumulation
of stains from foods and drinks. Obviously more exposure to darker substances stains the teeth
faster. Smoking and continuous sipping of coffee are the major culprits. However, anything
that has any color to it stains the teeth. The good news about external staining is that they
respond very well to various bleaching methods.
In-office Laser Bleaching
I have adapted a very unique approach that makes the in-office
bleaching a real success. The process takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete and
is highly effective. I will be anaesthetizing the teeth to be bleached for your
utmost comfort. Usually patients choose a movie from the hundreds of titles we
have to watch on the overhead monitors and by the time the movie is over
their teeth are whiter.
One of the limiting factors for people who whiten their teeth is
the sensitivity that they develop during the process. Even though the bleaching
solutions have been buffered to minimize this sensitivity, it still is the major
restrictive factor to bleach the teeth to the maximum.
Take home bleaching
For maximum control of your whitening, you can have trays made
from a mold of your teeth and apply the solution at home to your teeth. For best
results I recommend that you start by doing an in office laser bleaching session
and get the trays for touchup bleaching at home.
Frank, who works for E! Entertaiment liked everything about his
teeth except their color. I learned that he keeps long hours in the company of
his coffee mug. We made molds of his teeth and made him customized trays that
kept the bleaching solution on his teeth. He wore the trays for one hour each
day for 5 days.
Internal causes of staining
Mottled enamel - In recent years I have seen an alarming increase in
another form of tooth discoloration that appear as white/yellowish patches of opaqueness on
the surface of teeth. This condition that is called Mottled Enamel is result of
a condition called Fluorosis or excessive ingestion of fluorides during tooth
development ages. Fluorosis used to be seen in certain areas that used uncontrolled sources
of water (like water straight from private wells) that were rich in Fluoride salts.
The recent surge in Fluorosis cases seen in the Los Angeles and other metropolitan
areas are most likely due to multiple sources of fluoride supplementation resulting in
a net fluoride ingestion that is above the optimal level.
Systemic Flourides - Ingestion of the right amount of fluoride
during enamel-forming stages (birth through 10 years of age), will strengthen the enamel
of the teeth and make them more resistant to the acid attack from bacteria which cause dental
Many municipalities in the U.S., have recognized this fact and add the right
amount of fluoride (one part per million) to the drinking water of the cities. This
is mainly responsible for the reduction of the dental decay in the current young population
of the United States. After the eradication of smallpox by the smallpox vaccine, fluoride
has been recognized as the most effective single agent against an infectious disease.
However, the increase in the use of water-softening devices and bottled
water in health-conscious families deprives these people from the cavity-fighting advantages
of fluoride. You must consult a dentist for the right amount of fluoride
supplements if you do not get it from the municipal water supply.
Tetracycline Stains - Administration of Tetracycline anti-biotic
during pregnancy or the first few years of life is the classic cause of grayish
discoloration of teeth. With our present knowledge of this adverse reaction, physicians
and dentists must avoid prescribing antibiotics from this family during tooth
development ages. I hope and predict tetracycline staining of the teeth to become
extinct in the coming years.
Developmental Anomalies - Certain developmental anomalies like Amelogenesis
Imperfecta can cause a deep seated yellow brown stain on the teeth. SEE
Intrinsic stains do not respond to bleaching techniques satisfactorily. The
treatment varies depending on the case.
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