How to Whiten Discolored Teeth

Keeping your teeth pearly white is difficult, especially if you have consistently struggled with dental problems and keeping up proper health habits. However, at the Upper St. Clair dental practice of Dr. Diane M. Falsetti, restoring the brightness of your smile is possible by first understanding why and how teeth have become discolored, including what available cosmetic dental options are available for whitening them.

Causes of Discoloration

There are intrinsic and extrinsic reasons why your smile may be dull and stained. Certain drinks such as coffee, wine, tea, and soda can stain the outer layers of enamel, making teeth look yellowed and unflattering. Dental infections, where the nerves in the tooth have been compromised, will make the tooth appear darkened and gray. Other factors of discoloration include an excess of fluoride or use of tetracycline antibiotics. If you have existing prosthetics, such as dental crowns, bridges, or veneers, it’s important to note that, depending on the material used, they may be susceptible to staining over time as well.


The first solution for whitening your smile is dental bleach. Whether that includes over-the-counter products, or at-home treatment that our dentist recommends and supervises, there are various treatment options readily available to whiten extrinsic stains. Dr. Diane M. Falsetti recommends Opalescence and Nitewhite take-home whitening brands for whitening treatment. As a reminder, teeth whitening products, whether they’re custom trays, strips, or toothpaste, may not effectively whiten the smile if the cause of discoloration is intrinsic and will not lift stains on dental prosthetics.

Tooth-Colored Restorations

With stains that are caused by dental infections, which darken teeth from the inside out, restorations are a recommend solution for both cosmetic and functional reasons. Porcelain veneers are a great restoration for otherwise healthy teeth that cannot be whitened through bleaching, as they cover the front surface of enamel. Lumineeers® are a brand of veneers that are wafer thin and require little to no preparation, making for conservative restoration of your smile. Teeth that are decayed, damaged, or have been treated with a root canal are typically capped with a dental crown, which can be made with materials that produce natural, stunning results. Porcelain crowns, like veneers, offer a similar sheen and feel as natural teeth, making for seamless enhancement of your smile.

If your smile is a combination of natural enamel and prosthetics, it’s recommended to consider bleaching real teeth prior to the addition of restorations and prosthetics, for best shade matching.

Dr. Diane M. Falsetti and the rest of her professional dental team at our Upper St. Clair dental practice are experienced in providing a full smile restoration with cosmetic dental procedures for whiter, brighter teeth. For more information about our cosmetic dental services, contact us today!

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