When you smile in the mirror, are you met by a row of discolored teeth? You aren’t alone. Teeth stains are a common problem and are a source of embarrassment for many people. While you may be able to control some of the factors that lead to teeth stains, others such as age are out of your hands. The good news is that no matter what may be causing your stained teeth, there are treatments available.
Common Causes of Teeth Stains
The causes of teeth stains can be classified into two categories: extrinsic and intrinsic. The extrinsic category has to do with the factors that affect the outer layer of your teeth (enamel). Intrinsic causes are those that affect the inner structure of your teeth (dentin). Age also contributes significantly to tooth discoloration. As you get older, the enamel of your teeth thins out, and the dentin naturally yellows. The result is a less brilliant smile compared to that of your younger self.
- Drinks – the pigments from dark colored drinks such as coffee, tea, and soda can become embedded in your enamel and cause permanent teeth stains.
- Smoking – The nicotine and tar present in tobacco can discolor your teeth in a short amount of time.
- Improper dental hygiene – Accumulated plaque houses bacteria that can produce yellowish stains on teeth.
- Fluoride – high exposure to fluoride at an early age can cause teeth stains.
- Tetracycline – Tetracycline antibiotics taken during pregnancy or by a child at an early age can cause teeth discoloration.
- Trauma – internal bleeding or pulp necrosis can cause abnormal teeth coloration.
Treatment for Teeth Stains
Extrinsic stains (those caused by drink, food, smoking) can often be removed with regular professional cleanings and good dental hygiene. Brushing and flushing everyday will help maintain a bright smile after treatment and prevent future teeth stains.
Over the counter, whitening products do offer some effectiveness. Whitening tooth paste can help with minor stains. Strips and other products that use bleaching agents can whiten teeth over a period of several weeks. Professional teeth whitening treatments use stronger bleaching agents and offer a quicker, more effective solution.
Certain teeth stains cannot be removed through conventional whitening techniques. Cosmetic dental treatments such as composite bonding or veneers offer a solution in these cases. Composite bonding is a procedure that uses tooth-colored resin (plastic) to repair teeth. Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are attached to the front surface of teeth to cover up cosmetic flaws.
Have teeth stains in Houston? Call Uptown Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry at 713-766-1493 to see how we can help you achieve a beautiful, white smile.