If your teeth are badly stained, one of the first things you may try is whitening treatments. Professional treatments performed in your dentist's office can remove some pretty deep, set-in stains. However, there are instances when they don't work as well as you'd hope. If you've already had your teeth whitened but are still bothered by staining, here's a look at some alternative treatments your dentist may recommend.
Porcelain veneers are thin sheets of tooth-colored material that are placed over the front of your teeth. They essentially hide the front of your natural tooth from view. When you smile, you'll just see the white veneer and not the stained tooth behind it.
Veneers can be applied to your teeth over a series of dental appointments. At the first appointment, your dentist will make a mold of your teeth to send to a lab. At the second appointment, they'll prepare your teeth for the veneers by removing a thin layer of enamel, and at the third appointment, they'll actually apply the veneers.
Once you have porcelain veneers put onto your teeth, you must keep them on for life since some of your enamel has been removed. Luckily, they don't impose too many restrictions on your lifestyle. You'll want to steer clear of overly crunchy foods and wear a mouthguard to bed if you grind your teeth, but you'll brush your teeth and floss as usual.
The downside to porcelain veneers is that they can be quite expensive.
If you're on a bit tighter of a budget, another option is to have your stained teeth covered with composite veneers, which are a more affordable option.
Composite veneers are not quite as durable as porcelain veneers, so you may need to have them replaced down the road. Plus, you'll need to be a bit more careful about not biting into hard items or chewing on your pencil. They are also prone to staining and may yellow if you regularly drink coffee or other dark liquids. However, composite veneers can give you a beautiful, white smile without forcing you to alter your lifestyle drastically.
Composite veneers are typically applied in one visit. Your dentist will remove a thin layer of your tooth enamel and then "paint" the liquid composite onto your tooth. It will harden into a veneer.
To learn more about these solutions for badly stained teeth, speak with a local cosmetic dentist, like Leo Uicker DDS.