I wonder if you can help me understand if the situation with my teeth is an urgent reason to see a dentist. I don’t think it’s an emergency, though. In November last year, I noticed brown stains on my teeth. I scheduled an appointment with my dentist, and after the exam, he recommended teeth whitening. I didn’t get the whitening right away because I wondered if something internal was causing the stains.
I saw my naturopath doctor, Maggie. She says that the stains are from excess fluoride. Although I don’t use fluoride, the county I live in adds it to the water, but I drink bottled water. I recently looked at the bottled water that I drink containing fluoride. From what I understand, green tea, which I drink daily, contains fluoride too. So I thought maybe I’ve had excessive fluoride intake. Can you recommend brands of bottled water or a house filtration system? And a cosmetic dentist? I want to get the stains taken care of along with Invisalign for my crowded teeth. Thanks. Destiny from Newark, NJ
Dental fluorosis can result if you take in excess fluoride as a child and your teeth are still forming. It makes your tooth enamel look blotchy. Sometimes, the spots are brown. But the intake of fluoride as an adult doesn’t result in fluorosis stains. If your stains are recent, they aren’t related to fluoride.
We are puzzled why your dentist can’t remove or conceal the stains. Depending on the type of stains, there are ways to remove them.
- Internal stains – Pigments from food and drinks get absorbed by your teeth. Internal stains are even and affect an entire tooth. Tea can darken your teeth and cause dark stains. But bleaching gel can break down embedded stains and remove them.
- External stains – Your dentist can polish off surface stains. External stains are irregular and usually appear around the gumline and spaces between teeth. Also, Supersmile toothpaste works because it removes the protein pellicle on your teeth and the stains that stick to it.
Teeth Bleaching vs. Dental Bonding
Although some dentists might recommend dental bonding, it’s not necessary. And it requires an expert cosmetic dentist to provide smooth, seamless results. Bleaching is less expensive, no dental materials will be attached or bonded to your teeth, and most general dentists offer teeth whitening services. Bleaching will brighten your entire smile and make it look younger.
Is Dental Care for the Brown Stains Urgent?
You would need urgent dental treatment in cases of trauma or pain, but treating the stains in your teeth is not harmful to your oral health. The stains you describe seem to come from your tea drinking. A dentist will examine your teeth first to confirm the causes of the stains before recommending treatment.
You can begin Invisalign treatment after your dentist resolves the issue, which requires keeping the veneers on 20 to 22 hours daily. So, complete any dental work you need beforehand.
David Finley, DDS, sponsors this post. Dr. Finley is an accredited Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.