Imagine you spilled red wine on a varnished table. You try to clean it off, but the stain remains. The table underneath is just fine, but the only way to remove it is to buff the stain out of the protective varnish coating. The same general idea can be applied to some deep stains on your teeth. The idea of buffing as it applies to your teeth is known as enamel microabrasion, but how does it work?
An Excellent Middle Ground
There are many different dental services that whiten your teeth, and a standard hydrogen peroxide-based whitening treatment is the most widely known. Enamel microabrasion occupies the middle ground when it comes to treating tooth discoloration. When a standard hydrogen peroxide-based whitening treatment doesn't give the desired results, and when concealing the discoloration beneath a dental veneer or crown is an excessive solution, then enamel microabrasion could be the answer.
Buffing Your Teeth
Broadly speaking, enamel microabrasion is a precise buffing of your teeth, removing stains and even small surface irregularities to greatly improve the appearance of your teeth. The process is not painful, although the vibrations of the required tools can result in some brief, minor discomfort. Your dentist can apply a numbing agent to your gums if required.
How It Works
A rubber dental dam might be used to isolate the areas in your mouth that need to be treated. It also prevents any debris created from the process from being distributed across your face. You will be wearing protective glasses for the same reason. Your dentist then moves a small sanding tool (a diamond bur is common) across the surface of your teeth, removing a tiny amount of dental enamel. This removal will not compromise the strength and general integrity of your teeth, but it will rid you of stains and small imperfections.
In addition to the rotations of the tapered dental bur to treat the surfaces of your teeth, a micro-abrasive agent will also be applied. Your dentist will select the best micro-abrasive agent for the task, but it depends on the degree and depth of your discoloration. These agents generally have an acidic component, often containing hydrochloric acid and/or phosphoric acid. Fine pumice can also be included to aid in the exfoliation of your surface dental enamel.
Enamel microabrasion is a great way to remove discoloration and generally refresh your smile. Contact a dentist for more information about dental services.