Yellowed and discolored teeth can damage your confidence. Our society places an emphasis on having a perfect, white smile. There are a numerous reasons why your teeth become discolored. Staining beverages and age are the two most common factors. Up until the past two or three decades, only the young had white teeth. But, as times have changed, so have our perceptions of health and beauty. As white teeth are a sign of health and good self-care in our society, the emphasis on having perfect, pearly whites has become prominent. If you have yellow or discolored teeth, you have a wide variety of options to address this potentially embarrassing problem.
External Causes of Discolored Teeth:
There are many reasons teeth can become discolored. The most common cause is the accumulation of stains from foods and drinks, followed by age. Consistent exposure to darker substances stain the teeth faster. Coffee and red wine are the major culprits for discolored teeth. In addition, smoking stains your teeth quickly. Age causes teeth to become worn and discolored. The good news about external staining is that it responds very well to various bleaching methods.
Internal Causes of Discolored Teeth:
Mottled enamel: In recent years, there has been an reported increase in this form of tooth discoloration. It appears as white/yellowish patches on the surface of your teeth. It is the end result of Fluorosis. This is caused by excessive ingestion of fluoride during early tooth development. Fortunately, Fluorosis is relatively uncommon. It is seen in areas where uncontrolled sources of water are regularly used. This type of water, such as water from private wells, is often rich in fluoride salts.
Systemic Fluorides: Ingestion of the prescribed amount of fluoride during enamel-forming stages (birth through 10 years of age) will strengthen your enamel. This makes your teeth more resistant to the acids excreted by your natural bacteria. These bacteria’s byproducts are what cause dental cavities. Most municipalities in the United States have recognized this fact and add fluoride (one part per million) to their drinking water. This, in part with increased awareness of the importance of dental hygiene and regular dental visits is responsible for the reduction of the dental decay in the United States. Second only to smallpox vaccine; fluoride has been recognized as the most effective single agent against infectious disease in the developed world. Remember, only after the common cold, is tooth decay the most common disease afflicting people around the world.
The increase of water-softening devices and bottled water in health-conscious families deprives many young people from the protective advantages of fluoride. Due to clever marketing and scare tactics, many people no longer drink directly from the tap. As a result, they miss the added fluoride and become susceptible to tooth decay. If you do not drink tap water, or you do not believe you are getting the appropriate amount of fluoride from your drinking water, you should consult a member of our staff to discuss ways to safely supplement your fluoride intake.
Internal stains often need porcelain veneers to repair, as bleaching cannot always improve the appearance of internal stains.
Administration of Tetracycline antibiotic drugs during pregnancy or the first few years of life is the classic cause of grayish discoloration of teeth. With our present knowledge of this adverse reaction, physicians and dentists tend to avoid prescribing antibiotics to young children or to expectant mothers, however, for many the damage has already been done. Hopefully, as we become more aware of the negative effects certain drugs may have on our bodies, things such as tetracycline staining of the teeth will eventually become extinct. Tetracycline stains are some of the most difficult to treat. They often present deep within the enamel or even in the dentine. This makes it nearly impossible to remove them without the use of aggressive deep bleaching or porcelain veneers.
If you have tetracycline stains, discuss your options with the dentist. If you can remove them without resorting to veneers, this is the route you should take. It may take longer, but keeping all of your natural teeth as long as possible is an important part of keeping a healthy mouth. Veneers should always be the option of last resort with any sort of tooth discoloration.
Certain developmental anomalies like Amelogenesis Imperfecta can cause a deep discoloration of the teeth. These can also be difficult to treat, but it is worth the effort.
You can view before-and-after photos of treated discolored teeth in our smile gallery.
Dr. Zadeh and his staff will be happy to discuss discolored teeth with you. Please call for a consultation today.