Why Did My Teeth Change Color?
Over time, your teeth can go from white to not-so-bright for a number of reasons:
Food and Drink
Coffee, tea and red wine are some major staining culprits. What do they have in common? Intense color pigments called chromogens that attach to the white, outer part of your tooth (enamel).
Two chemicals found in tobacco create stubborn stains: Tar and nicotine. Tar is naturally dark. Nicotine is colorless until it’s mixed with oxygen. Then, it turns into a yellowish, surface-staining substance.
Below the hard, white outer shell of your teeth (enamel) is a softer area called dentin. Over time, the outer enamel layer gets thinner with brushing and more of the yellowish dentin shows through.
If you’ve been hit in the mouth, your tooth may change color because it reacts to an injury by laying down more dentin, which is a darker layer under the enamel.
Tooth darkening can be a side effect of certain antihistamines, antipsychotics and high blood pressure medications. Young children who are exposed to antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline when their teeth are forming (either in the womb or as a baby) may have discoloration of their adult teeth later in life. Chemotherapy and head and neck radiation can also darken teeth.
Your teeth have pores just like your skin or a sponge. Anything you put in your mouth that has color will absorb into those pores. Wine, coffee, dark berries, and smoking are extremely active in staining teeth. Over time, the natural color of your teeth becomes darker due to these stains. These stains will never go away unless you actively remove them. Properly formulated teeth whitening gel works by absorbing into your teeth and gently pushing stains out through the pores.
Just like aggressive brushing of your teeth, abuse of any kind can be damaging. However, if used as instructed, professional teeth whitening is incredibly safe. The whitening process uses active ingredients to temporarily open pores in your teeth and lift stains. After each whitening session, your teeth naturally remineralize and rehydrate.
More than 60% of Americans have naturally sensitive teeth. This is most often caused by genetics, thin enamel, or crack/damaged teeth. During the whitening process, it is completely normal for sensitivity to occur. The teeth become temporarily dehydrated which reduces their ability to insulate the nerve from changes in temperature. Sensitivity will disappear 12-36 hours after whitening. Dentists and hygienists recommend a post-whitening fluoride treatment to nourish the teeth and promote rehydration.
Ultra-violet (UV) light is a frequency of light that works by accelerating the whitening gel to act faster. This process is FDA regulated and only offered under dentist supervision. Although it does whiten very quickly, it is not an option for people with sensitive teeth. Further, the results are temporary and must still be maintained (often with custom-fitted whitening trays or repeat dental visits). The process is incredibly expensive and time consuming.
No product on the market can whiten in a few minutes or a day. Chemically, it is impossible for any whitening agent to safely penetrate deep enough into the teeth at that speed. Customers with severe stains must be patient with the process and know that each whitening session removes years of stains. Once those stains are gone, it is incredibly easy to maintain.
When artificial caps and veneers are installed, they are created to match the color of your surrounding teeth. The material is created a darker (or lighter) color and can never be changed. Caps and veneers will neither whiten nor stain. Teeth whitening will not damage dental work.
mmediately after whitening (regardless of the product you use), your teeth are more susceptible to restaining. The pores in your teeth are slightly more open and can more easily allow stains in. Smile Brilliant and dentist professionals recommend whitening before bed as it reduces the opportunity for staining and gives your teeth the night to begin rehydrating and remineralizing. To speed up the remineralizing process, the Doctor applies fluoride infused desensitizing gel to nourish and replenish.
Regardless of your stains, the natural color (and genetic makeup) of an individual's teeth are set at birth. The only thing a whitening product can do is remove all the stains that have accumulated over time. You'll never know just how white your teeth can be until you try. We want to provide the world with that opportunity.