Dental Hygiene 101: Types of Tooth Discoloration

Sep 22, 2014 @ 09:00 AM — by Lauren Shanard

Two women, wearing sunglasses and smiling, their teeth obviously not suffering from any form of tooth discolorationIf your face is a canvas for your natural beauty, then your smile is your signature. It tells the world who you are and what you represent. Unfortunately, over time your signature can become discolored and obscured, eventually requiring just a little touch-up work.

If your smile has become stained or otherwise discolored, modern restorative dentistry offers a variety of world-class solutions. At Contemporary Dental Arts, P.C. in Williston, tooth discoloration treatment can be customized to address the specific type of discoloration each individual patient is experiencing. Whether a patient’s teeth have become stained through the consumption of red wine or certain foods or due to trauma or disease, Dr. Lauren J. Shanard will find the solution best suited to that patient’s unique case. She will also provide the patient with the education he or she needs to avoid further discoloring his or her teeth once their natural white luster has been fully restored.

The Types of Tooth Discoloration: Extrinsic and Intrinsic

While discoloration can take many possible forms, from light yellow splotches to deep greyish hues that affect the entire visible surface areas of teeth, they can generally be classified into one of two categories: extrinsic or intrinsic.

Extrinsic Discoloration

As its name would suggest, extrinsic discoloration involves the superficial layer of the tooth, the protective layer known as the enamel. Extrinsic discoloration generally results from exposure to staining agents such as tobacco, tea, coffee, dark colas and other sodas, red wine, and certain foods and juices. It can also result from the simple passage of time. Even people who take excellent care of their teeth may find that, with age, their enamel may begin to wear away.

Intrinsic Discoloration

Unlike extrinsic discoloration, intrinsic discoloration goes deeper than the enamel, penetrating into the underlying layer known as the dentin. Possible causes of intrinsic discoloration include:

  • Fluorosis, or overexposure to fluoride in one’s childhood
  • Consumption of certain medications, especially tetracycline and related antibiotics
  • Root canal therapy
  • Genetics
  • Trauma to a tooth
  • Dental restorations that have begun to fail and require replacement
  • Aging

Over time, the dentin tends to turn yellow naturally. As the enamel becomes worn with age, and the underlying dentin becomes more visible, the teeth will naturally appear more discolored.

While certain causes of discoloration are more difficult to avoid than others - genetics, for example - good oral hygiene regimens and twice-yearly trips to the dentist will help patients to maintain white, vibrant teeth for as long as possible.

For patients who are suffering from extrinsic discoloration, intrinsic discoloration, or a combination of the two, Contemporary Dental Arts offers a comprehensive range of treatments designed to restore beauty and health to even the most badly damaged smiles. These treatments include:

  • Porcelain veneers
  • Dental crowns
  • Zoom!® 2 professional teeth whitening
  • Tooth-colored fillings
  • Dental bonding

If necessary or desired, Dr. Shanard can combine two or more of these treatments into a fully customized smile makeover plan.

Learn More about the Types of Tooth Discoloration and How They Can Be Treated

To learn more about the types of tooth discoloration and how they can be treated, please contact Contemporary Dental Arts today.

Comments (0)

Public comments are closed.