Tooth discoloration is one of the most common problems people have with their teeth. Fortunately, it is often also one of the easiest to treat. Your dentist can evaluate the staining on your teeth and determine the best course of treatment. The type of treatment depends upon the cause of your discoloration.
Extrinsic Tooth Discoloration
There are two basic types of discoloration that can affect your teeth. These are intrinsic and extrinsic staining. Extrinsic staining discolors the outer layers of your enamel and often responds well to whitening treatments. Causes of extrinsic discoloration include:
- Fruits, vegetables, or juices with dark colors
If the surfaces of your teeth are yellowed or brown, extrinsic staining is probably the cause. Talk to your dentist about teeth whitening treatment, which can be administered in the office. If your teeth don’t respond to in-office whitening, a professional-strength take-home kit might provide better results.
Intrinsic Tooth Discoloration
Intrinsic discoloration affects the interior of the tooth. The most common cause is exposure to antibiotics or fluoride while the teeth are developing. This type of discoloration usually manifests as gray or brighter white stripes on the teeth. Whitening treatment usually doesn’t work to reduce these stains. Instead, your dentist might recommend veneers, which cover the front surfaces of the teeth and give them a natural appearance.
Other causes of intrinsic staining include trauma to the tooth. If the interior of the tooth bleeds, blood can fill the tubules in the dentin, causing the tooth to appear darker. Decay or damage to the pulp within the tooth can cause it to look gray or black. Your dentist can evaluate the tooth to see if the pulp is damaged, which probably means it will require a root canal procedure.
A brown color to the tooth can occur if the enamel is worn down enough for the underlying dentin to show through. This, too, can be treated with veneers.
For more information about treating tooth discoloration, contact the office of Dr. Kelli Slate today.