Causes of Tooth Discoloration

by Robert Rapisarda
Are you embarrassed by your stained or yellow teeth? Are you self-conscious about openly speaking or laughing, or often speak and laugh with your hand over your mouth?

We would all love to have beautiful, white teeth. Unfortunately, that is not naturally the case for some Boston patients due to a variety of factors ranging from lifestyle choices to certain medications to genetics.

The good news is that tooth discoloration is a fairly common problem that can be easily remedied either on your own or by a qualified cosmetic dentist, depending on the severity of your particular situation.

Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Tooth discoloration can be divided into three different categories: extrinsic, intrinsic, and age-related.

1.   Extrinsic. This type of discoloration occurs when stains are present on the outside of the teeth and is typically caused by the following factors:

  • Consuming tooth-staining beverages like coffee, soda, tea, and wine
  • Using tobacco products like cigarettes or chewing tobacco

2.   Intrinsic. This type of discoloration occurs when the inner portion of the tooth becomes stained and is caused by the following:

  • Taking certain medications as young child, especially tetracycline products
  • Excessive fluoride usage at a young age when enamel was not yet fully formed
  • Trauma to the tooth as a young child such as a bad fall that permanently damaged the internal tooth structure
  • Certain diseases
  • Genetics

3.   Age-related. This type of discoloration is due to both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. As we age, internal tooth dentin yellows and outer tooth enamel thins, allowing the dentin to show through. Additionally, years of tobacco or stain-causing drink consumption also cause the teeth to yellow.

Treatment Options for Tooth Discolorations

Extrinsic and age-related tooth discoloration can often easily be removed with a thorough professional cleaning or a teeth whitening procedure.

Intrinsic discoloration may require more involved treatments such as a root canal procedure in order to remove the decayed tooth material in conjunction with cosmetic treatment options like dental bonding or porcelain veneers.

Preventing Tooth Discoloration

You can help keep yellowing teeth at bay by regularly practicing good oral hygiene such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least once day, and regularly making appointments with a dental hygienist for a professional tooth cleaning.

Making certain lifestyle changes such as quitting the use of tobacco products or cutting back on stain-causing beverages can also help you avoid discolored teeth. You may also consider drinking coffee and soda with a straw, allowing the beverage to go straight into your mouth without touching and subsequently staining your teeth.

Speak to your dentist about fluoride usage in young children as well as the various medications that may discolor the teeth.

Learn More about Cavity Treatments

You no longer have to suffer from unsightly yellow teeth or speak and laugh with your hand covering your mouth. Several effective remedies and preventative habits exist for the various types of discolored teeth. Find out what your options are, get the beautifully white teeth you deserve, and regain your confidence by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Rapisarda today.

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