Bleaching and Masking
Staining of teeth can occur due to; trauma, dietary (regular intake of coloured foods), habits like smoking, exposure to high fluoride during teeth development (Dental fluorosis) among other causes.
In our setting in the larger Nakuru County, the most common cause of teeth discolouration/staining is dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is a condition that affects the tooth structure and colour. It is caused by over-exposure to fluoride during the first eight years of life when the permanent teeth are forming. Consumption of too much fluoride mainly occurs due to intake of water and food with high fluoride content, endemic in the Rift Valley.
Dental fluorosis can present as yellow-brown staining on your teeth or the teeth of your child.
The staining can negatively affect how one looks and feels about themselves.
Children especially may have difficulties socializing when they are ridiculed or when they see that they look different from the other children.
Safe and effective tooth whitening is possible either as a home bleaching procedure or as a chair-side procedure.
Once bleaching has been completed, the teeth can be maintained in their new white state by placing a thin layer of filling material in a process called masking. The patient also has to maintain a thorough oral hygiene regimen to ensure the teeth do not pick up stains again.
For older patients, veneers or full crowns can be done. However, for children only bleaching and masking can be done.