What causes dulling and discoloration of teeth?

What causes dulling and discoloration of teeth?

Nov 25, 2015

Tooth discoloration is one of the most common reasons why people visit a cosmetic dentist. Over time, exposure to food, beverages, and other staining agents encountered in everyday life can dull the shine and whiteness of your teeth. A simple whitening treatment, though, can return your smile to its former brilliance.

Causes of Discolored Teeth

Many of your everyday habits, including the foods you eat and the beverages you drink, can contribute to staining on the surfaces of your teeth. Some of the most common culprits are:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Wine
  • Fruit juices
  • Tobacco

These surface stains usually respond well to whitening treatments, because they only affect the outer layers of the teeth. In-office whitening with our dentist might be the only cosmetic dentistry procedure you’ll need.

Other stains, however, affect the deeper layers of the teeth and are more difficult to correct. This type of staining, called intrinsic staining, occurs most often due to:

  • Excessive exposure to fluoride
  • Exposure to certain medications
  • Abnormal enamel development
  • Trauma or injury
  • Damage to the tooth pulp

Staining caused by trauma or injury requires restoration of the tooth. The type of restoration is determined by the type and extent of the injury. Discoloration that occurred while the tooth was developing is often treated with dental veneers. If you have genetic problems with your enamel, or if your enamel is heavily worn or too thin, other types of restoration might be necessary, such as a dental crown or even removal and replacement of the tooth with a dental implant if it is severely damaged.

In-Office Tooth Whitening

Cosmetic dentistry’s simplest and most common procedure is teeth whitening. It is often performed in-office, and takes about an hour. The cosmetic dentist will paint a whitening agent directly on the tooth surfaces, then let it sit for about twenty minutes to do its work. Some whitening agents must be activated with a light for even more dramatic results. This process is repeated two more times. You’ll be able to see results right away, but they’ll become even more noticeable over the next few days.

If your teeth don’t respond well to in-office whitening, our dentist might recommend a take-home whitening kit or possibly dental veneers.

Contact our office today to speak with a member of our caring team about teeth whitening for you!