Seven Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Apr 2, 2019 @ 01:07 PM — by Steven Balloch, DDS

Composite image before and after teeth whiteningNothing diminishes the beauty of the smile like yellowed, stained teeth. Dental discoloration can make you self-conscious about your appearance. There are many reasons why tooth discoloration can occur, and becoming familiar with them can help you protect your smile and keep it beautiful for years to come.

Here, our Hartford, CT team explores seven common causes of tooth discoloration and explains how treatments in cosmetic dentistry can help you achieve your aesthetic goals.

#1: Tobacco Use

Smoking and tobacco use can result in oral and overall health problems, including dental discoloration. Teeth whitening can successfully lighten the teeth by several shades, lifting tar and nicotine stains from the enamel.

For long-term health, however, we recommend kicking the habit for good. If you want to quit smoking, reach out to one of our team members. We can help you find the resources you need.

#2: Certain Foods and Beverages

The modern diet consists of many dark-colored foods and drinks. Examples include berries, pasta sauce, soy sauce, tea, coffee, colas, and red wine.

Teeth whitening is incredibly effective for these types of stains. In fact, we can brighten your smile dramatically in a single office visit. To maintain the appearance of your smile, drink beverages through a straw and consume dark-colored foods in moderation.

#3: Disease

Certain diseases and disorders, such as celiac disease and bulimia, can lead to enamel erosion. When this occurs, the underlying tooth structure is exposed, resulting in a yellowed appearance.

This type of discoloration is difficult to address with whitening. Most patients require dental bonding or porcelain veneers to restore their smile.

#4: Medications

Doxycycline and tetracycline have both been linked to tooth discoloration when given to patients younger than eight. Other medications that can stain teeth include antihistamines, hypertension drugs, and antipsychotic medications.

Because these stains affect the inner layers of the teeth, whitening may not be effective. Dental bonding or porcelain veneers are often recommended for staining caused by medication.

Even some mouthwashes can temporarily stain the teeth, especially those containing cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine. In most cases, this type of staining can be reversed with a regular dental cleaning.

#5: Poor Oral Hygiene

Over time, inadequate brushing and flossing can lead to dental discoloration. Staining agents, such as coffee, tea, and tobacco, cling to plaque deposits, which accumulate on the teeth.

In many cases, a routine dental cleaning can eliminate this problem. However, teeth whitening may also be necessary to achieve optimal results.

#6: Fluorosis

Fluoride is essential for strong enamel and healthy teeth. Like anything, however, too much of a good thing can be detrimental. Excessive exposure to fluoride can lead to discoloration, especially if it occurs while the teeth are still developing.

Many cases of fluorosis can be addressed with teeth whitening. However, severe discoloration may need to be addressed with bonding, veneers, or crowns.

#7: Trauma

Falls, accidents, or sporting injuries can cause the dentin to become stained with blood. Because the blood is trapped inside the tooth, it can lead to permanent darkening of the enamel. Should this type of damage occur, veneers or crowns can conceal the affected teeth.

Contact Us for More Information

If stained teeth keep you from smiling or feeling your best, consider what cosmetic dentistry treatments can do for you. Schedule a visit with Dr. Balloch in Hartford to explore your treatment options. Contact us online or give us a call at (860) 659-8660.

Tagged with: Teeth Whitening

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