Although there are several causes for tooth discoloration, we can separate them into three basic categories: intrinsic, extrinsic, and age-related discoloration. Here’s how each affects your teeth, and what you can do to ensure a life full of bright, healthy smiles.
Extrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the enamel—the outer layer of the tooth—becomes stained. These stains are caused by pigments, acidic content, and other chemical factors (natural or artificial) present in things we enjoy eating and drinking.
A few common culprits for tooth discoloration include:
Most of these items won’t have an immediate affect on the color of your teeth, but over time, they can begin to wear away and cling to enamel causing unsightly stains. Try to consume these in moderation and always remember to drink plenty of water and brush your teeth after meals.
Here’s a couple of quick tips to help avoid those wine stains!
Intrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the inner structure of the tooth—the dentin—begins to darken or develop a yellow tint. This type of discoloration can develop because of a trauma sustained to the tooth. Sometimes when a tooth sustains trauma during childhood, it can damage the developing permanent tooth beneath it, affecting the tooth’s color. If a trauma is sustained during adulthood, internal bleeding can potentially discolor the damaged tooth.
Other causes include uses of medication at certain stages of life or being born with a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta which can cause gray, amber, or purple discolorations. If you have questions about intrinsic discoloration, come in and see us and we can help answer your questions.
Age-related tooth discoloration is a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The dentin inside our teeth naturally yellows as we age. Enamel on the outside of teeth also thins as we get older, allowing the yellow pigment of the dentin to show through. A lifetime of consuming certain foods or smoking cigarettes will also contribute to deep-set stains on the enamel’s surface.
We know just how important it is to provide our patients with bright, healthy smiles. Each situation is unique and we provide our patients with effective solutions for their unique oral health needs. If you have any questions about your smile’s appearance, let us know in the comments below or call and make an appointment today!