Valentine’s Day is approaching, and we all want to look our best for that special someone. One of the first thing people notice about us is our smile. Our smiles reveal a lot about us. So do the stains on our teeth.
When your teeth have white spots, like in the image above, it’s not that your teeth are getting whiter. Unfortunately, it means your teeth are decalcifying. Decalcification is a precursor to decay. This needs to be treated, or the discoloration will turn brown and the next thing you’ll see there is a cavity. Fortunately, it’s easy to treat with fluoride and a little extra attention to your oral hygiene.
While mottled teeth have more to do with your oral hygiene, gray is a result of medication. If certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline, are taken during tooth development, they will become stained. These can be varying shades of gray. Medicinal stains can be difficult to remove. Teeth Whitening often isn’t strong enough. They can sometimes be treated with porcelain veneers, but it does take a highly skilled cosmetic dentist. The veneers have to look natural, yet at the same time be opaque enough to cover the stains. It’s a tricky balance.
These are the easiest stains to treat, as well as the most common. You could have the best oral hygiene in the world, and eventually your teeth will begin to yellow with age. However, there are things you can do to cause yellowing as well. Not brushing your teeth enough is the most obvious, but there are food and drinks which can also stain your teeth. Coffee and tea are two of the biggest culprits. Spices, such as curry powder love to leave their mark on your pearly whites as well. Teeth whitening is the simplest solution to yellowing teeth, but you can also use porcelain veneers if there were other things about your teeth you wanted to change anyway.
Browning teeth can be caused by smoking or chewing tobacco, but it can also be a sign that decalcification has gone too far and you are now experiencing decay. Be sure to have the stains checked. If it’s advanced decalcification, you’ll want to do some fluoride treatments right away. If it is just stains, some teeth whitening can solve the problem. Of course, if you continue using tobacco, the stains will just re-appear, not to mention the poison to the rest of your body.
With these clues as to what your stains mean and how to solve them, when you say “Be my valentine” this season, you can do it with an inviting smile.
Dr. Coleman is a leading cosmetic dentist in the United States, as well as an international lecturer in dental techniques and technology. With a great sense of humor and a sense of compassion for others, Dr. Coleman takes pride in improving the lives and smiles of his patients.