If you don't feel confident about the color of your teeth, there are ways to help improve their whiteness. However, different cosmetic dental applications may be used depending on the level or type of staining present. Here are a few whitening applications and the type of discoloration that they can effectively correct:


If your teeth are heavily or permanently stained, veneers may be the best option for you. Although veneers work well with any level of staining, other dental applications, such as tooth whitening, are not effective for permanent stains, such as those associated with the use of medications like tetracycline or those from congenital defects.

Veneers are thin sheaths of porcelain or resin that are bonded to the teeth. The veneers conceal the discoloration and give the appearance of perfect teeth.

Veneers are also more effective for people who have a large amount of dental work. The color of a filling or dental crown may remain unchanged after a dental bleaching session. This can cause the overall whiteness of the teeth to appear mottled and uneven, especially if the dental work was performed when the teeth were much darker. The crown or filling will likely have been matched to the former color of your teeth.

Professional Whitening

If discoloration is light or heavy, as long as it is not permanent, professional dental bleaching is generally effective. The bleaching process uses a peroxide-based gel along with a special ultraviolet light to brighten the teeth.

Years of staining from smoking, drinking coffee and eating heavily pigmented foods can be erased. To achieve the highest level of whitening, you can choose to have multiple whitening sessions performed. However, once your teeth have reached the desired shade, your dentist may suggest at-home treatments, such as special toothpastes and mouth rinses, to help you maintain the whiteness.

Over-the-counter Whitening

For light staining, over-the-counter whitening kits may be sufficient. The kits, which use a less concentrated form of peroxide than professional whitening applications, do work to remove dental stains. However, they may have to be used for a longer period to achieve maximum results, since the whitening solution is not as concentrated. Be sure to only use an over-the-counter product as directed since dental sensitivity can result from the abuse of teeth whitening solutions.

If you are interested in whitening your teeth, contact Drs. Phipps, Levin, Hebeka, & Associates Ltd. or a similar organization.