Stain caused by traumatic injuries, medications, and fluorosis actually begins inside the tooth; brushing and flossing don’t help. Another type of stain, one that can be more easily attacked by brushing, flossing, and rinsing is caused by external factors such as foods. More people today are choosing tooth-whitening procedures to reverse the effects of aging and abuse from food and tobacco stains. Some commercially available "whitening toothpastes" can be somewhat effective at removing stains and making teeth a few shades brighter. However, many of these products have abrasive substances that can actually wear away your tooth's enamel. Whitening agents actually change the color of your teeth, but are only effective on certain types of stains. For example, bleaching agents have a difficult time removing brownish or grayish stains. These products are not as effective on pitted or badly discolored teeth, or on restorations such as crowns, bridges, bonding and tooth-colored fillings. Porcelain veneers or dental bonding may be more appropriate in these cases. Professional whitening performed by our office is considered to be the most effective and safest method; done properly, tooth whitening can last as long as two years depending upon diet.