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FAQ:  Bonding


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Composite Resin Bonding Ask The Dentist Ara Nazarian Question:
Stained Dental Work: When I was younger, a dentist "built up" one of my upper front teeth because it was more pointed than the matching one on the other side.

Ever since, I've had problems with that tooth becoming discolored. When I get my teeth cleaned, they do the best they can and it is okay for awhile, but still doesn't match the color of my other teeth.

It is very bothersome (aesthetically), and I can't afford caps/veneers. Is there anything I can do to whiten that tooth? Most whitening products say "not for use with dental work" and I haven't found anything so far that works. ...Visitor from NC

Answer:
Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do. Chances are that when you go in for cleaning, a pumice based polishing product is used on your teeth which can help "whiten" the appearance of enamel and restorations.

The sure fire way of regaining a natural look is to have the bonding material replaced with a newer composite resin hybrid that is resistant to staining. Tooth enamel has a very very low porosity factor. Bonding products, can vary in porosity values. Understandably, bonding products that boast a tight molecular structure (low porosity) will probably be more costly than the average bonding product.

In the interim, you might investigate tooth paste products that have an amount of pumice built in. Toothpastes that claim to better whiten the teeth of coffee drinkers and/or cigarette smokers will probably have pumice in small amounts. Pumice is an abrasive however, and should be used with diligent care.

A Nazarian, DDS

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