Should I Get Veneers or Have My Teeth Whitened? A Treatment Comparison
Are you unhappy with a dull smile and wondering if you should have your teeth whitened or get veneers? Teeth whitening can generally only lighten stains that affect the outer portion of the teeth. In instances of internal discoloration, veneers will be more effective. At Whiteman Dental Associates in Brookline, MA, I’m happy to meet with you to discuss this exact question. Until then, let’s take a look at some basics that will help you make an informed decision.
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Discoloration
Staining often affects the outer portion of a tooth – called the enamel. Causes of extrinsic stains include:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Dark-colored beverages like coffee and red wine
- Foods like spaghetti sauce, berries, and soy sauce
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
In contrast, discoloration can also affect deeper parts of a tooth. You might notice this type of staining if:
- You’ve been exposed to high levels of fluoride
- A tooth has been injured
- The enamel has worn away (a natural part of the aging process)
- You’ve taken medications including certain antibiotics
- You’ve undergone chemotherapy or radiation affecting the head or neck
During a consultation at my Brookline office, my team and I will discuss your health history and examine your teeth to determine which type of staining is affecting your smile. In some cases, it might be both.
Candidates for Whitening
To combat extrinsic stains, whitening agents are applied to the outer surface of the teeth where they break apart stains. This can be a simple, cost-effective solution for the right patients. In addition to having extrinsic dental stains, you should have good oral health. We can treat any decay or signs of gum disease, for example, before we move forward with cosmetic treatments like whitening.
Candidates for Veneers
Veneers work by actually masking the internal discoloration. So regardless of the reason the tooth has become compromised, you’re likely a good candidate for the procedure. Like whitening, you should have a healthy mouth, free of cavities and periodontal disease. You also need to have a sufficient amount of enamel to support the restorations. If you don’t, dental crowns might provide a good alternative.
Internal Bleaching: A Unique Alternative
We’ve already covered the options that would be available to you at most dental practices. But I’m excited to share that I also offer internal bleaching for intrinsic stains at our Brookline office. During this cosmetic procedure, a small hole is drilled into the back surface of the tooth and then we administer a bleaching solution. Internal bleaching can be effective at lightening teeth that have undergone root canal therapy (a common cause of discoloration). We can discuss your candidacy during a consultation.
Why Else Should You Choose Us?
The core of my approach to dentistry revolves around a commitment to continuous improvement. I’m always incorporating new techniques, materials, and technology that can deliver better results for my patients. Regardless of which treatment you choose, you can rest assured I always have your best interests at heart and will partner with you to meet your unique goals.
Schedule a Cosmetic Consultation
Discolored teeth can detract from an otherwise attractive, healthy-looking smile. Dental stains can be frustrating but they’re entirely treatable. Contact our office today to get started with a consultation.