Tooth stains and discoloration may be unsightly, but it’s something many people deal with at some point. Luckily, tooth discoloration has an identifiable cause that can be addressed and treated, repairing your bright smile in no time. Let’s take a look at the types of discoloration that may be causing your pearly whites to lose their luster:

  • Extrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the enamel is stained by foods or drinks like coffee, tea, red wine, and other sugary or dark drinks. Frequent smoking may also cause tooth discoloration.
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  • Intrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the dentin becomes yellow in color. The enamel is the outer layer of the teeth while the dentin is the inner structure. When an intrinsic issue is at play, it may be caused by:
    • Overexposure to fluoride in early childhood.
    • The use of tetracycline antibiotics below 8 years of age or during the second half of pregnancy.
    • Dentinogenesis imperfecta, a rare tooth development disorder that can result in translucent blue-gray or yellow-brown discoloration and weakened teeth.
    • Trauma to developing permanent teeth in childhood or trauma to permanent teeth caused by internal bleeding.
  • Age-related tooth discoloration may result from a combination of factors. As we age, our enamel thins and weakens, allowing the dentin layer to show through. Because dentin naturally yellows over time, the result is a yellow-tinge to the teeth. Damage to inner layers of the tooth, like the pulp, as well as chips and other injuries may cause discoloration, too.

Unhappy with your smile? Contact Heroes Dental and Orthodontics to start on the road to a better smile and a more confident you. Our offices can be found in three convenient locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley: Laredo, Mission, and San Juan.

Your dentist or orthodontist won’t have to conduct any special tests to identify tooth discoloration. In fact, a simple examination of the teeth will suffice.

Though some tooth discoloration can be removed with professional cleaning and whitening, discoloration caused particularly by foods and drinks can be permanent. Crowns or veneers may be required in cases of severe discoloration. Your orthodontist will be able to suggest the ideal treatment for your teeth.

How to Prevent Discoloration

Extrinsic stains can be prevented simply by maintaining a healthy dental hygiene routine. Brush your teeth after every meal, particularly if you have consumed a caffeinated, dark, or sugary beverage. Most dentists will recommend rinsing your mouth with water after drinking wine, coffee, or other similar teeth-staining drinks.

Make sure to keep up with your regularly scheduled dentist visits. Teeth cleanings by your dental hygienist can help remove surface stains before they worsen. And don’t forget to floss!

Some intrinsic stains may be prevented, such as those caused by damage to a nerve or blood vessel in the tooth, but they can be more difficult to treat. A root canal may be necessary to prevent further discoloration and decay. Even then, discoloration of that tooth may persist. Because intrinsic stains can happen in children with developing permanent teeth, avoid overexposure to fluoride at a young age.

How to Treat Discoloration

As stated above, extrinsic tooth discoloration can generally be treated by a simple cleaning and a good dental hygiene routine. Your dentist may suggest the use of a bleaching agent to remove stains quickly and safely. In-office whitening is always preferred to over-the-counter products. In-office whitening can be conducted in one session with follow-ups as needed. Bleaching trays can also be provided by your dentist to be used at home at your convenience.

Because at-home whitening treatments are not as potent as in-office treatments, the process may take two to four weeks for optimal results. Whitening toothpastes and mouthwash can help remove minor stains, but they will not aid in lightening the overall shade of your teeth much.

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For intrinsic tooth discoloration that has resulted in darkening even after a root canal, your dentist may suggest applying a bleaching agent to the inside of the tooth. In teeth discolored by use of antibiotics or with obvious damage, your orthodontist may recommend covering the discolored teeth with color-matching veneers or crowns.

With Heroes Dentistry so close to home, there’s no need to search far and wide for experienced and effective dental and orthodontic treatment. Our array of cosmetic dentistry services means you are covered in the realm of dental health. Request an appointment today to revive and repair your pearly whites.

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