What causes teeth to be discoloured?
The most common causes are:
- The nerve of the tooth is dead, often from previous trauma
- Staining from antibiotics as a child
- Build up of surface stain
- Staining around old fillings
What options are there for improving the colour?
The first thing is to make sure that there is no surface staining. After that improving colour most likely involves the use of tooth whitening or the replacement of fillings with discolouration around them, where appropriate. If the cause of the staining is that the tooth is dead, you may require a root canal treatment as a first step. This will not be painful as the tooth is already dead.
For more generalised discolouration problems from badly broken down teeth or antibiotic staining, more complex treatments such as veneers or crowns may be required. This is rarely the case and we try to keep the treatment as simple as possible.
Do you offer bleaching?
Yes, we offer overnight bleaching with trays. This is the safest, most effective and most predictable way of whitening teeth. It only takes about 2-3 weeks and works very well for most people. The trays are very thin and comfortable to wear and the price of this type of treatment has come down considerably in recent years
Do you do Laser Bleaching in the dental surgery?
We don’t do bleaching in the dental surgery, often called laser or power bleaching. We have previous experience using it but have found that it often produces less stable results and may require the use of overnight bleaching anyway. It uses a higher concentration of bleach, which is more likely to cause tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Very high concentrations of bleach are now banned by EU law. Its also bad value for money compared with the over night bleaching.
Do you replace silver amalgam fillings with white fillings?
Yes we do if patients really want it done but in most cases we advise against it. Silver fillings last much longer than white fillings and are much stronger and more robust if fillings are large. There is also a higher decay rate around white fillings. Dr McAuliffe has spoken nationally and internationally on the techniques and aesthetics of white fillings.
Worries about the mercury in silver fillings are not scientifically accurate and critics have consistently failed to provide any credible evidence that they do any harm. This is because the mercury can’t get out of the filling material, except a small amount when the fillings are being removed. Ironically, the largest exposure you would ever have to mercury is likely to be if you had all your fililngs replaced.