Why are my teeth not white?

A less than beaming white smile can affect your confidence. But why does teeth color change anyway? Lifestyle and personal factors can cause blemish and other faults that smear your smile. Some of these are:

  • Inherited traits such as gaps, misaligned teeth, spots, or blemishes.
  • Stains from coffee, tea, soda, or smoking.
  • Taking antibiotics at a young age may cause permanent colour changes.
  • Chips or cracks due to accidents or sports injuries.
  • Broken-down restorations and age.

So how do you get your teeth to be pearly white again? There are a number of procedures offered to improve the appearance of teeth. One of these is veneers.

Porcelain veneers

Porcelain veneers are ceramic shells that are made to bond and cover the front of teeth. They are a more conservative alternative to an artificial crown especially if the underlying tooth strong and healthy. They are excellent treatments to chipped, discoloured, misaligned, misshapen, or gapped front teeth.

If you decide to get veneers, it will typically take around two to three visits to your dentist to prepare and fit the veneers. He will discuss your needs and plan the best treatment for you. Depending on the number of teeth to be treated, an appointment may last from an hour to two.

Your dentist will prepare each tooth by removing a layer about the thickness of a fingernail from the surface. This will give room for the veneer to be glued. This may require a local anaesthetic.

Then, an impression is taken of your teeth and sent to a dental ceramist who will make your veneers. On your next appointment, they will be cemented on to your teeth and this may take a few hours. Before the final cementing, you should discuss any changes you may like because once the veneer is bonded to the teeth, the colour cannot be changed. It will then be trimmed and polished.

Caring for your veneers

Regular check ups with your dentist will ensure your veneers will last longer. During these visits, they will be polished and any irregularities will be trimmed. If you have had any problems with brushing and flossing, let your dentist know.

Hard foods and other hard objects such as nails, pens, or bottle tops may damage your veneers. If you’re playing a sport always wear a mouthguard while at play.

Continue brushing regularly with a fluoride toothpaste and floss after meals.


  • Relatively painless
  • Resistant to staining caused by age, tea, coffee, or smoking
  • The porcelain and cement are comparable in strength to normal teeth
  • Can last for many years with the right care
  • Will not decay


  • If damaged, cannot be repaired
  • Relatively expensive
  • A small amount of tooth must be removed in preparation

Other considerations with veneers

Before veneers are put on, your teeth will feel rough and strange due to the exposed, buffed surface. During this time, it is important to really care for your teeth as they will be more sensitive to air, touch, and hot or cold foods. A temporary veneer may be used to cover the exposed teeth but is usually unnecessary and an additional cost.

Veneers are not replacements for overcrowded or misaligned teeth.

Healthy gums are essential to the success of veneers. Daily attention to oral hygiene is important.

Direct laminate veneers

These are a more conservative alternative to porcelain veneers. An adhesive coating is applied to your teeth’s front surface followed by a putty-like bonded ceramic material that’s similar to the natural colour of your teeth. An intense light is then flashed intermittently to cure and harden the ceramic which is then contoured and polished.


  • Hardly any removal of tooth structure
  • No impressions or laboratory manufacturing needed
  • Less expensive than porcelain veneers
  • Removable without damage to the tooth
  • Repairable
  • With proper hygiene and regular check ups, they can last for many years


  • May chip or break if bite is incorrect
  • They require more maintenance Bonding