We spend our early years with pearly white teeth, but a lifetime of living can turn them dull and discolored. If you’re like most people, you’re looking for a way to bring the white back. Fortunately, there are ways to do just that.

At Virginia H. Ellis, DDS Dental Corp. in Orinda, California, Dr. Ellis and her staff understand your desire for a brighter, whiter smile. That’s why they provide in-office and at-home teeth whitening treatments as well as veneers for their patients.

In this blog, they explain why teeth can discolor and what you can do to change the situation.

Why aren’t my teeth white anymore?

Teeth can change their color and luster due to both intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

Intrinsic discoloration

Intrinsic factors are things that occur within the tooth itself. One of the biggest causes is aging. As you get older, the hard enamel that covers your teeth can begin to thin, revealing the yellowish-brown color of the dentin beneath it. And no amount of tooth brushing can remove the dull color, because it’s the result of material under the enamel showing through.

Other causes of intrinsic discoloration include the following:

  • Using certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline
  • Excessive use of fluoride (fluorosis)
  • Oral trauma

Extrinsic discoloration

Extrinsic factors are those that occur outside of the teeth. These include eating certain foods and drinks as well as engaging in certain lifestyle activities, such as smoking, which can cause the enamel to stain. You can remove these kinds of stains with teeth whitening procedures.

Some of the biggest culprits for causing extrinsic stains are:

  • Tea and coffee
  • Dark colas
  • Soy sauce
  • Red wine
  • Dark-colored berries or berry juice
  • Tomatoes and tomato sauce
  • Any type of tobacco

The good news is no matter what kind of discoloration you have, there are options that can give you a great smile again.

Teeth whitening for extrinsic discoloration

If your teeth have lost their luster due to extrinsic factors, then teeth whitening could be what you need. All teeth whitening systems use some form of peroxide-based bleaching agent, usually either carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. At-home kits from the dentist usually contain 3-20% peroxide, while in-office systems usually contain 15-43% peroxide.

In-office teeth whitening

If you want your teeth to be as white and bright as they can be, the best place to go is Dr. Ellis’ office. Furthermore, deep stains usually require in-office treatment.

And because the bleaching solutions used in in-office treatments are far stronger than what you can get from a store or with a take-home kit from Dr. Ellis, you can make your teeth many shades whiter in one office visit.

At-home teeth whitening

While you can go to any supermarket or pharmacy and buy over-the-counter whitening products, they’re usually not as effective as the kits you can get from Dr. Ellis. The kits you can buy from Dr. Ellis have ingredients that are more powerful than what you can get in store options.

With an at-home kit, you are given custom teeth whitening trays and gels, and you leave the trays on your teeth for a prescribed period of time over a number of days. Depending on the situation, the process can take from three days to two weeks.

Teeth whitening for intrinsic discoloration

If your teeth have gotten dull because of internal factors, veneers can give you bright white teeth again. Veneers are thin, porcelain shells that cover the fonts of your teeth. Furthermore, they’re tinted to the shade you desire.

To get veneers, a small portion of your enamel is removed to make room for your veneers. Then, a mold of your mouth is taken and sent to a lab, where your veneers are custom made. And once your veneers are made, Dr. Ellis bonds them to your teeth.

Besides making your teeth look great, veneers help strengthen the teeth they’re bonded to, and they can also cover cracks, misshapen teeth, gaps between teeth, and other minor imperfections.

If you want to make your dull and discolored teeth bright and dazzling again, then teeth whitening or veneers could be what you need. To learn more, call (925) 272-2698, or book an appointment online with Virginia H. Ellis, DDS Dental Corp. today.