Some patients, such as those with intrinsic staining or especially sensitive teeth, are not considered good candidates for teeth whitening. However, there are several alternatives to teeth whitening which can achieve similar results for a bright and dazzling smile. Your dentist will evaluate your dental health and discuss your treatment goals in order to recommend the right procedure for your needs.
Created from incredibly lifelike dental ceramic, porcelain veneers conceal stains rather than lighten them. These thin shells can be an especially effective option if your smile is affected by dark internal stains. At the same time, veneers can mask a number of additional imperfections, including chips, worn edges, cracks, gaps in your smile, and more. This treatment can provide a dramatic transformation and is typically recommended for patients who want to alter the size and shape of their teeth as well as the color.
If you are not a candidate for teeth whitening, alternative treatments, such as bonding and porcelain veneers, can achieve a brighter, more dazzling smile.
There are two types of porcelain veneers: traditional and minimal prep. In order to place traditional veneers, your dentist will need to remove a thin layer of enamel from the front of the treated teeth. This alteration is permanent and may not be right for patients with thin enamel or dental sensitivity. In contrast, minimal-prep veneers can often be placed without altering the tooth’s structure.
Like veneers, dental bonding can transform intrinsically stained teeth. During the dental bonding procedure, the doctor will apply composite resin over one or more teeth, concealing discoloration. Your dentist can precisely shade the resin to match your natural tooth color, allowing it to blend seamlessly into your smile. Then the material is sculpted and polished to give it a realistic shape and shine.
Dental bonding is a quick, affordable, and conservative treatment that can improve cosmetic concerns in a single appointment. While composite resin is prone to staining and cannot achieve results that are as natural-looking as veneers, bonding preserves healthy enamel and can be reversed if you change your mind.
Dark intrinsic stains often develop due to certain medications or trauma. In some cases, however, this type of discoloration may result from amalgam dental fillings. Over the years, metal can start to show through your teeth, giving your smile a gray tint. Your dentist can often remove older traditional fillings and replace them with a composite resin restoration. Made from the same material used for dental bonding, the resin can be colored to match the natural shade of your teeth.
In addition to the cosmetic benefits, tooth-colored fillings are also better for your general health and your oral health. The material will form a stronger bond with your tooth than metal fillings, increasing its longevity. Additionally, unlike metal, it will not expand and contract with temperature variations, a process which can fracture the tooth over time.
Snap-On Smile is a removable, custom-crafted appliance that fits comfortably over your dental arch. It can completely transform your smile without the need for extensive treatment or alteration of your teeth. Many patients use the Snap-On Smile as a temporary measure or a trial before deciding to undergo certain dental procedures.
If you are dissatisfied with the color and appearance of your smile, there are a number of treatment options available to you. Learn which procedure is best for you by discussing your concerns and cosmetic goals with your dentist.