We pass through Life encountering dirt everywhere. Stains are part of life. Clothes get soiled, foods do stains utensils and tobacco does stain teeth. So does coffee, tea, food, betel nut chewing, smokeless tobacco and what not. Most of us do not like our teeth the way they are. All of us want whiter and well shaped teeth to display our vitality. Moreover we are conditioned by the media, the ads and the magazines to have a well shaped body and pretty teeth. So this is what we are expecting to see in others and this is what others are expecting to see from us. Overall it has become a game of show offs.
Our teeth is what gives us our identity among it’s many other functions. It helps us chew our food and also helps in supporting our facial features. Certain people have spacing in between their front teeth, some have crooked teeth and some others have a single gold crown in the front. All these have different meanings within the society in which we live such as the subject of status, looks, appeal, fashion and identity, just to name a few. This is our signature. Our teeth is very helpful to us when we are alive and also when we are gone. It plays a major role in Forensic Dentistry. Imagine a person with only a few front teeth remaining in his or her mouth but otherwise well dressed. How would people treat this person? What would people think of that person? Would he or she be confident enough? So having teeth is very important in our lives.
Teeth is THE most neglected part of the body. Oral Hygiene is not appreciated as well. In the absence of teeth is when we will know it’s true value. Would you step out of your house with one of your front tooth missing? I don’t think so. The same holds good with teeth which are stained. There are two types of stains – Extrinsic and intrinsic. External or extrinsic stains are stains that is formed due to external forces such as coffee, tea, tobacco, colored drinks, food stains etc. Then we have the Intrinsic or internal stain where a tooth dies from trauma and then the tooth gets discolored. Then we have tetracycline stains and stains from various dental anomalies. All these stains are in fact incorporated within the tooth structure itself, hence is nearly impossible to remove. Laminates may be a solution in some cases. Even an intrinsic stain on the front tooth may serve as a persons identity during life and also may even serve as a forensic evidence. It will be similar to using DNA as a marker for identification purposes.
Stains are like tattoos that have been omnipresent in various cultures. Tattoos are created with pride. embedded on the skin and have been depicted in almost all major civilizations. Likewise teeth are embedded with gemstones, pigments, colored Earth, Ivory, shells etc. Tooth that have been artificially infused with dyes are also seen in some cultures. Overall dyes that are used in handicrafts and other artifacts serves as a way of expressing ourselves. We can also express ourselves through intrinsic stains. A unique stain that has been present on one of the front tooth in an individual, may be his unique identity within that population. He might be recognized easily using this feature. It’s is similar to any logo or a symbol.
Superficial stains can be taken off by brushing them off or by having our teeth cleaned Professionally and having our teeth buffed. Certain home made remedies are also available to create and use. Citrus fruits might do the trick. In many cases hydrogen peroxide and backing soda seem to do miracles. The use of salt also has made a comeback after decades of hiding. On the other hand deep seated stains have to be treated completely different. If a tooth has a root canal and it is discolored, internal bleaching would be realistic and the way to go in accomplishing the task of stain removal from within. In case of discoloration due to an internal blood clot within the tooth, the tooth may need a root canal therapy followed by internal bleaching. In case of moderate to severe tetracycline staining as well as in developmental anomaly cases, veneers or full coverage crowns might be indicated. Whatever your case may be, consult with your dentist.
Stains can be treated in many ways based on the situation. It is also based on your unique situation. One that has worked for someone may not work for you. So we should not be comparing results. Do not try treating yourself at home. Any treatment planned must be customized to your personal need. Bleaching does have some effect on your teeth, so does veneers. The pros and cons must be discussed with your dentist before getting on board with any of these procedures. Most procedures that are performed in Dentistry are irreversible. So we must think before we leap. Ask questions. Then discuss in depth with your Dentist before making an informed decision.