Types of Tooth Discoloration

Everybody wants a white, radiant smile. However, certain lifestyle habits or genetic factors may be preventing you from achieving the tooth shade you desire. Fortunately, tooth discoloration is entirely treatable in most instances. A qualified dentist can suggest various teeth whitening options that are suitable for you. It is important to understand what causes tooth discoloration as well, to avoid developing discolored teeth all together.

What Causes Teeth to Discolor?

Tooth discoloration can be separated into two distinct categories: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic discoloration occurs when stains are located on the surface of the teeth and is a direct result of the following lifestyle habits and stain-causing substances:

  • The nicotine contained in tobacco products like cigarettes causes teeth to turn yellow.
  • Consuming fruits like blueberries, blackberries, and cherries, which contain highly pigmented molecules that stick to the surface of the teeth, causes stains.
  • Beverages like tea, coffee, and wine can also stain teeth. Soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks, which are all high in acid and cause tooth erosion, also contribute to tooth discoloration.
  • Having poor oral hygiene such as not regularly flossing, brushing, and scheduling frequent dentist visits also leads to stained teeth, since unattended plaque and tartar buildup to leads to yellow teeth.

Intrinsic discoloration appears as deep stains embedded inside the tooth and occurs as a result of the following factors:

  • Some illnesses such as infections or high fever, especially at young age when teeth are still developing, cause discolored teeth.
  • Certain medications and treatments such as tetracycline or high blood pressure pills can discolor tooth enamel and the layer underneath, causing stains.
  • A trauma or injury to the mouth or teeth can cause teeth to yellow.
  • Certain dental materials used in restorative dentistry like the sulfide contained in amalgam fillings, can cause teeth to turn gray.
  • Genetics and aging may also contribute to yellowing teeth. Some people are simply born with thicker enamel. However, enamel tends to thin as we age, exposing the naturally yellow dentin layer underneath.

How to Prevent and Treat Tooth Discoloration

Fortunately, tooth discoloration can be both prevented and treated. Quitting smoking, cutting back on stain-causing foods, drinking tooth-discoloring beverages with a straw, and improving your dental hygiene will all help your teeth remain white.

If your teeth have become discolored, and you would like to restore them to their original shade, a range of cosmetic procedures are readily available as well. Teeth whitening is the most sought after option for treating tooth discoloration. Whether you opt for in-office, in-home, or over-the-counter whitening treatments, a solution exists to meet your specific needs.

Learn More about the Types of Tooth Discoloration

Your teeth may become discolored due to a variety of reasons. Fortunately, your smile can be restored to a beautiful white shade through teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, or dental bonding. To discover the underlying cause behind your discoloration and to explore your options to obtain a dazzling smile, schedule an appointment at University Dental Arts today.

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