There are numerous scenarios that can cause discolored teeth. The majority of the time, the discolorations are “extrinsic,” impacting the tooth enamel alone, and can be fixed.
What Causes Teeth Discoloration?
An example of extrinsic discoloration is stains triggered by foods or beverages. Black tea or coffee; wines, both red and white; and darkly colored foods such as beets or chocolate are prime culprits. Other foods likely to stain teeth are berries, popsicles, sweets and pickles.
Soy sauce, curries and tomato sauce can cause teeth to yellow with time, and smoking cigarettes and other tobacco can stain teeth as well. In addition, producing an acidic environment in the mouth, whether through eating acidic food or by not brushing and flossing routinely, can make the enamel more vulnerable to staining.
There are 3 primary types of tooth discoloration:
- Extrinsic – This happens when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained. Coffee, wine, soda or other beverages or foods can stain teeth. Smoking cigarettes also causes extrinsic stains.
- Intrinsic – This is when the inner structure of the tooth (the dentin) darkens or gets a yellow tint. You can get this type of staining if:
- You had excessive exposure to fluoride during early youth.
- Your mother used tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy.
- You used tetracycline antibiotics when you were 8 years old or more youthful.
- You had trauma that impacted a tooth when you were a young child. A fall, for example, might harm the establishing long-term tooth.
- You had injury in an irreversible tooth, and internal bleeding discolored the tooth.
- You were born with a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta. This causes gray, amber or purple stainings.
- Age-related – This is a mix of extrinsic and intrinsic elements. Dentin naturally yellows over time. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which allows the dentin to show through. Foods and smoking likewise can stain teeth as people age. Finally, chips or other injuries can blemish a tooth, specifically when the pulp has been harmed.
Symptoms of Teeth Discoloration
Symptoms include discolorations on the enamel. They can range from white streaks to yellow tints or brown spots and pits. If the enamel has actually worn away, and dentin is showing through, you may discover a yellow tint.
No special tests are needed. A dental professional or other dental professional can detect tooth discoloration by looking at the teeth.
Some teeth discoloration can be gotten rid of with professional cleansing. An example would be the discolorations triggered by coffee. Many stains are irreversible, however. Teeth sometimes can be whitened with a lightening gel. Sometimes, if the staining is severe, a crown or veneer may be required to cover it.
Teeth Discoloration Prevention
Brushing your teeth after every meal will help to prevent some spots. Dental professionals suggest that you wash your mouth with water after having wine, coffee or other beverages or foods that can stain your teeth. Regular cleansings by a dental hygienist also will help to remove surface area discolorations.
Intrinsic discolorations that are caused by damage to a nerve or blood vessel in a tooth in some cases can be avoided. You might have to have root canal treatment to get rid of the inner part of the tooth (the pulp) before it has an opportunity to decay and darken. However, teeth that have root canal treatment might darken anyhow.
To prevent intrinsic spots in children, prevent excessive early direct exposure to fluorides. Once the enamel is formed, fluoride will not discolor teeth.
Treatment for Teeth Discoloration
Many extrinsic spots triggered by food and drink can be gotten rid of by regular expert cleanings and home care. Great home care includes brushing, flossing and rinsing after meals.
Discoloration often can be removed by applying a lightening representative to the tooth enamel. One strategy is called “power whitening.” With this technique, the dentist applies a light-activated lightening gel. It causes the teeth to obtain substantially whiter in about 30 to 45 minutes. Several follow-up treatments may be required, or take-home lightening trays might be provided.
It’s likewise possible to remove staining at home. You will use a whitening gel and a mouth guard given to you by your dentist. The bleaching gels developed for use at home aren’t as strong as those used by your dental professional. This suggests that the procedure takes longer– typically two to four weeks.
You also can buy whitening products nonprescription. They include a weaker bleach than the products you can obtain from your dentist. The whitening representative is applied as a gel put in a mouth piece or as a strip that stays with your teeth. Over the counter mouth pieces fit less safely than the kind you receive from your dental professional, however they will lighten your teeth gradually.
Bleaching tooth pastes may remove minor stains. They do not in fact alter the overall color of your teeth.
If your tooth has darkened after a root canal, whitening the enamel will not help. Your dental expert can apply a whitening material to the inside of the tooth, or you might consider a crown or veneer.
Lightening will not lighten some stains, such as tetracycline discolorations. In this case, your dental professional might recommend covering the tarnished areas. This also might be useful when the tooth is chipped or severely damaged.
A tooth can be covered with a color-matched composite bonding material. Another option is to get veneers. These are thin ceramic shells that cover the outer surfaces of the teeth.
When To Call a Professional
Tooth staining is mainly a cosmetic problem. Check out a dental practitioner if you’re unhappy with how your teeth look. Any change in a child’s normal tooth color need to be assessed by a dental expert.
The diagnosis is excellent for extrinsic spots. Intrinsic spots might be more difficult or take longer to get rid of.