White Stains on Teeth After Whitening Treatments

With dreams of pearly white teeth, you set an appointment for a whitening treatment at your dentist's office and expect to see immediate results — and you're not alone. In a survey of American Association of Orthodontists members published by the American Journal of Orthodontics, nearly 90 percent of their patients requested tooth whitening to fine-tune their smile.

While teeth whitening is proven to be safe and effective, some may experience unwanted white stains on teeth after the procedure. Wanting a brighter smile is a common concern, but doing a little research on whitening procedures before your treatment can go a long way. Here's what you need to know ahead of time about the possible appearance of white spots on your teeth.

White Stains After Whitening Treatments

Teeth whitening doesn't exactly cause white tooth stains, but if your teeth already have white stains caused by hypocalcification, then tooth whitening could make them more visible. Hypocalcification is the loss of calcium in the tooth enamel, which leads to discoloration, according to the Journal of Conservative Dentistry. Hypocalcification is caused by exposure to too much fluoride (fluorosis), a diet high in sugar or acid, heavy plaque, and often is visable when orthodontic bands and brackets are removed. Getting rid of these spots can be difficult, as some tooth whitening procedures can cause the hypocalcified areas to appear much whiter, making the difference in color even more apparent.

Treatment Options for White Spots

You may not be able to completely erase white stains on teeth, but there are other treatments available to possibly correct the discoloration of your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, teeth whitening with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide treatments can break up stains, which can help brighten the surrounding tooth color so your white spots are less noticeable. Enamel microabrasion is another treatment that could fix this problem for cases in which white spots appear on the outermost layer of enamel, as Case Reports in Dentistry lays out. Enamel microabrasion is an abrasive treatment in which a combination of hydrochloric acid and pumice, hydrochloric acid with silica carbide particles, or phosphoric acid gel with extra fine grain pumice are used to remove stains from the outermost layer of the enamel, explains the Journal of Applied Oral Science. Check with a professional to see what will work for you.

Prevent Future Stains on Teeth

Keeping your teeth white requires regular maintenance. Stains can come back or be very stubborn. Your dentist will have you come in for future whitening treatments in addition to treating any other dental issues, like cavities. Daily care also goes a long way in preventing stains, including brushing twice a day. A whitening toothpaste such as Colgate Total® Advanced Whitening can help remove stains and make sure your teeth stay healthy and bright.

A sparkling smile is attainable with diligent brushing, professional cleanings and whitening treatments. Always check with your dentist first if you're considering any type of whitening treatments, whether at home or in office, and to discuss the best options to minimize stains and enhance your smile.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.