Saint Louis Cosmetic Dentist Explains How to Whiten Teeth that are Permanently Dark or Stained

Written by Dr. Grayem on Jun 19, 2012

Saint Louis Cosmetic Dentist Explains How to Whiten Teeth that are Permanently Dark or Stained

Most patients start off as young people with bright, white adult teeth that gradually darken as they age. Environmental factors, such as food and drink can stain teeth. Additionally, dental enamel naturally darkens as the tooth surface wears—the bright, white dental enamel becomes thinner, and more of the darker dentin layer shows through. For patients with this kind of environmental and age-related dental staining, traditional teeth bleaching treatments can be quite effective. There are some cosmetic conditions, however, that are less receptive to teeth whitening treatments. Many of these conditions actually darken or damage adult teeth as the teeth are forming, so the stains are embedded within the enamel, rather than on the surface.

One such condition is dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis occurs when children with developing teeth consume too much fluoride. The fluoride negatively affects the growth and development of adult teeth; consequently, teeth develop with visible stains and grooves and pits in the dental enamel.

Tetracycline staining is also difficult to treat, because tetracycline stains are calcified into the core of the tooth. Tetracycline stains occur when young children—again, with developing teeth—use the antibiotic tetracycline. The tetracycline disrupts the normal growth process of adult teeth, causing them to develop with dark stains or strains embedded in the dental structure.

It used to be that patients with these conditions had to live with less than perfect smiles, because whitening treatments simply weren’t effective. Unfortunately, many patients with these conditions consequently feel self-conscious of their smiles, and try to hide their teeth from the world.

Our Saint Louis cosmetic dentists are here to tell you that no matter what your cosmetic issue, we can help you find a cosmetic solution that works for you. If you have tetracycline staining or dental fluorosis, dental veneers may be the answer for you. These thin layers of porcelain are attached directly to existing teeth, so they can effectively recover damaged or dark teeth.

We’ve helped many patients with difficult-to-treat, persistent staining achieve beautiful teeth! There are cosmetic solutions out there—give our Saint Louis cosmetic dental office a call if you have any questions; we’re here to help you love your smile.