Removing Nicotine Stains From Teeth After You’ve Stopped Smoking

Even when you don't have a cigarette in your hand, there are signs that you're a smoker. That telltale smell can attach itself to your clothes and hair, which can be quite obvious to some people. Additionally, your cigarette habit can be evident when you smile, with nicotine discoloration causing your dental enamel to take on a yellow (or even brown) hue. Now that you've decided to quit smoking, your teeth shouldn't serve as a memory of your habit. How easy is it to whiten teeth that have been discolored from years of smoking?

Professional Cleaning

Your first step should be to schedule an appointment with your dentist for a professional cleaning. This scaling and polishing will help to eliminate some of the surface staining caused by nicotine consumption. It gives you an improved starting point for your whitening treatment, whether you opt to have your dentist perform the service or you choose one of the many home teeth whitening kits on offer. Ask your dentist to recommend a specific product if you want to use a home kit.

Light to Moderate Stains

When using a home kit, you must accept the fact that your smoking habit has taken a toll on your teeth. Light to moderate nicotine staining can generally be treated with a home kit. Although your professional scaling and polishing will have improved your situation, your teeth will take a little longer to respond to home bleaching than a non-smoker. This doesn't mean that you won't start to see results within a fairly short time frame, but you may need to continue using the product for a longer period of time to get the results you're seeking. 

Heavy Stains

Smokers with severely discolored teeth should consider starting their whitening treatment at the dentist. This involves the bleaching agent being painted onto the teeth and then activated with a strong curing light (halogen or LED) for quick results. This is also beneficial for light to moderate stains, as it significantly speeds up the process. Your dentist can then manufacture a customized tray for you to continue your treatment at home. This is better for your teeth than the applicator trays provided with the home whitening product, allowing for greater precision, namely the way in which the whitening agent makes contact with your teeth.

To speed up the process of removing nicotine stains from your teeth, you should have a dentist perform the treatment (which may be necessary for heavy smokers) before transitioning to a home kit. These results will certainly last longer if you don't start smoking again, meaning your teeth won't serve as a memory of your former habit.