Coping with STAINS: Will they go away?

If you have stains on your teeth or your teeth are discolored, chances are that you have already gone to fantastic lengths to try to solve your problem. They may firstly not work well enough and, second, their failure may have convinced you that some dental problems are too permanent to be cured.

Why suffer socially and psychologically with a discolored smile? You can do something about it now.

Why teeth stain?

If your teeth stain or become discolored, they probably do it in one of three separate ways. One type of surface stain actually gets trapped into the tooth structure because of micro-cracks. These are usually caused by either chewing on ice or other hard objects. They are so small they may go unnoticed until they become stained, usually from food or smoking. Best advice is never chew on ice! These should go away either with bleaching or bonding.

A second class of stains is caused by calculus, or tartar, and soft deposits on the teeth. These appear as dark areas around the gumline, most often on the lower front teeth. Often bacterial in origin, these stains may be the result of ineffective oral hygiene. But whatever their cause successful treatment is available. It consists of frequent stain removal through dental scaling and polishing.

The third class includes stains that unfortunately are incorporated into basic tooth structure through faulty hardening of the tooth before birth or the interruption of normal enamel formation by medication or disease. The bad news is that no matter how much you scrub your teeth, these stains are permanently locked in. The good news is that, because of recent breakthroughs in cosmetic dentistry, dentists can now, in most cases, restore your discolored teeth to their true beauty, luster, and natural appearance with a minimum of time and discomfort and at little cost to you. The usual time frame for crowning is 1 working day.

Discussing Case Scenarios:

Scenario 1

Due to non-replacement of a defective filling, the fillings become a source of bacterial plaque accumulation. It is noteworthy in this stage the gums also become red and reduce in size. In such cases either replacement of the filling or in extreme cases even a full crown may be required, any such procedure can be finished on the same day itself.

In case of long standing discolored, decayed, and chipped teeth a professional cleaning is recommended and then restoring the tooth with core build up or composites. After the core build up final reshaping of the tooth is done and plaque resistance polymer crowns can be fixed to obtain a beautiful look.

Scenario 2

The stains caused by tea or coffee consumption may not go despite frequent cleaning, as these stains tend to return rapidly.

In such cases it is recommended that a professional cleaning is done and a bonding agent is used to reduce the porosity of the teeth. Also reduction in the habit is advisable. The life cycle of the bonding agent is around 6 months and thereafter the process is repeated. If an individual is looking for a long term solution then alternates are available as highlighted in scenario number 5.

Scenario 3

In cases where the teeth are crowded, mis-shaped or mis-aligned, crowning may be required. In such cases the teeth enamel are reduced and the tooth is reshaped along with de-sensitization. Then the measurements are taken and your final teeth caps are made in the laboratory.

Use of the high impact polymers have a distinct advantage of been shock absorbable along with plaque retention free. They have a higher strength that the natural tooth and hence increase the life of the tooth as well.

Therefore to summarize there are three treatments for stained teeth

  1. Polishing & bleaching
  2. Composite Contouring & Bonding
  3. Crowning

There are generally three ways to treat stains, and the choice of treatment depends on the cause and degree of discoloration. Regardless of the nature of the stain, there is a solution to the problem. Polishing is the simplest method and will take care of some food stains, the origin of which is most often attributed to drinking coffee or tea. However, excessive staining from coffee, tea, or smoking may not be so easily removed. Tetracycline stains, fluoride stains, and stains that result from actual damage to the tooth are not removed by polishing, but they may be treated by another alternative.

Bonding basically involves adding a plastic material to the existing tooth to simply cover the stain. The composite resin bonding technique has been used more and more often during the last twenty years. Bonding is not always a cure-all for problem stains. A longer-lasting solution is crowning, which requires taking away some of the tooth that can’t be replaced, and then covering what remains with a custom-made tooth.

With each alternative treatment for stains there are advantages and disadvantages. As you will see, costs, treatment time, and life expectancy vary with each procedure. There are many options available to you to correct the problem of stained teeth and to give you a natural, pleasant-looking smile.

The above is just a brief concept of staining and its management, before making a decision consult a professional for the same. You can contact us on +91-9820446633 or visit us at

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