Posted on: 14 August 2020Share
Tooth discoloration can be caused by various factors such as tobacco use, consumption of teeth-staining foods, exposure to certain medications, and poor dental hygiene. Whichever the cause, tooth discoloration can cause confidence issues, especially if it occurs on the front teeth. Two of the most common treatment options are dental veneers and teeth whitening.
A veneer is a thin porcelain shell that is placed over a natural tooth to cover imperfections. Teeth whitening is a procedure that involves the use of bleaching products to whiten teeth. These two procedures are inherently different, and it's vital to choose one that's suited to your needs. Below are a few factors to help you settle on the best treatment option.
The Extent of Tooth Discoloration
Teeth whitening is usually the go-to procedure for whitening discolored teeth. However, it only works for mild discoloration. If your teeth are extensively stained, this type of treatment may not work to perfection. For example, genetic staining may be hard to fix, even with the best whitening products. Thus, it's advisable to consider dental veneers. Veneers are thin porcelain materials that mimic the color of natural teeth. They are permanently attached to the teeth, and they can hide even the worst form of discoloration.
Location of Affected Teeth
The location of the affected teeth determines the best procedure. Dental veneers are typically used to fix discoloration on the front teeth. Thus, if you're trying to fix discolored premolars or molars, veneers may not be the best option. In this case, teeth whitening may be the ideal choice. However, since most confidence issues arise from conditions affecting the front teeth, most people are less worried about whitening teeth at the back of the mouth.
Underlying Dental Conditions
Do you have any other underlying conditions? For example, if you have a chipped or cracked front tooth, you may want to choose a procedure that can fix the stain and the crack. Whitening only bleaches the teeth. On the other hand, veneers can be used to hide other issues such as cracks and chips. They also fix misaligned or crooked front teeth, especially if one doesn't want to wear braces. Therefore, choose the treatment option that offers the best value based on the underlying dental conditions.
The performance of a whitening procedure heavily depends on the after-care. If you go back to eating pigmented foods, smoking, or using medications that stain teeth, your teeth will discolor again. You may need to redo the procedure every few years to maintain white teeth. On the other hand, veneers are permanent restorations, and they do not stain. Thus, if you're looking for a long-term solution, they are your best bet.
Talk to a dentist if you're unable to decide on the best treatment procedure to fix tooth discoloration, and do your own additional reading to further educate yourself on your options.