Options to Improve Discolored Teeth

Teeth whitening

From small, subtle changes to major reconstruction, cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of procedures to improve your smile. There are many choices to improve the look of discoloured, chipped, misshapen or missing teeth. Certain foods, drinks and medication, as well as cigarettes, can cause the discoloration of teeth. Hereditary factors can also play a part. Two of the most popular procedures to help with the discoloration of teeth are whitening and veneers.

Teeth whitening

Removing stains and discoloration helps to lighten and whiten teeth. This process is called teeth whitening or bleaching, as some call it. Whitening can be performed at home or by your dentist. Convenient and inexpensive, whitening at home is increasingly popular. Results can be very long-lasting. In-office whitening is also effective but can cause more sensitivity during the procedure. For both methods, some temporary tooth sensitivity is normal.

Over-the-counter kits consisting of whitening strips or trays, which can be found at the drugstore, are the most economical way to achieve a lighter color. Whitening trays are filled with a whitening gel for 30 minutes to several hours every day, depending on the type of solution you purchase. Custom-made home whitening trays made for you by your dentist offer superior results and less irritation than the generic over-the-counter options. Results usually take between 10-14 days to be seen.


Veneers are a treatment option to camouflage or reconstruct the appearance of discolored, chipped, oddly shaped or misaligned teeth. They are thin pieces of durable porcelain bonded directly to the front of teeth. A reasonably long-term solution, veneers typically last around 10 to 15 years. Unlike other restoration methods, veneers do not require much tooth structure to be removed from the surface.

The process to fit veneers is fairly straightforward. For porcelain veneers, a thin layer of enamel is removed from the tooth or teeth to make room for the veneer before the impressions of the teeth are taken. Temporary veneers are placed till the custom colored veneers are fabricated. After placement, veneers are easy to care for. Daily brushing and flossing are still necessary as gum disease and cavities can occur. Not every patient is eligible for veneer treatment since a certain amount of healthy enamel is required. Veneers are also not appropriate for people with severe teeth grinding (bruxism) issues as they could damage them.

A smile is often one of the first things people notice when meeting a new person. Veneers and teeth whitening are two cosmetic dentistry options to change the appearance of discolored teeth. A whiter and brighter smile can help with both confidence and general well-being. Talk to your local dentist about whether veneers or teeth whitening would be right for you!

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Yaletown Dentistry was one of the first dental clinics to be established in Yaletown in 1999, and is independently owned and operated. Our commitment is to you, our clients, and not a dental management company or shareholders.