Types of Tooth Discoloration

A man in a striped shirt smilingWhen patients visit Smile Solutions by Emmi Dental Associates here in Wilmington, they will receive excellent, state-of-the-art care that will improve the look and the health of their smiles. One of the more popular treatments at our practice involves professional teeth whitening, which removes stains and bleaches discoloration. Yet there are different kinds of dental stains, and different ways of making your smile look its very best. Let's consider the three different kinds of tooth discoloration right now:

  • Extrinsic tooth discoloration
  • Intrinsic tooth discoloration
  • Age-related tooth discoloration

About Extrinsic Tooth Discoloration

Extrinsic tooth discoloration is the kind of dental stain that most people are familiar with. This refers to the kinds of dental stains that originate at the enamel layer of the teeth. In other words, these stains are caused by the exposure of the teeth to various topical substances that stain.

What causes extrinsic tooth discoloration?

Some of the most common causes of extrinsic tooth discoloration include:

  • Cigarettes or cigars
  • Chewing/smokeless tobacco
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Sodas
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Curries
  • Berries

It's important that you be wary when it comes to all of the above substances in that they can all cause major stains to occur.

What is the best treatment for extrinsic tooth discoloration?

In most cases, the best treatment option for extrinsic tooth discoloration is teeth whitening treatment. Teeth whitening uses bleaching agents to whiten and brighten stained tooth structure. If the stain is too severe for teeth whitening treatment, the next best option is the use of porcelain veneers or dental bonding, which will conceal the dental stain from view.

About Intrinsic Tooth Discoloration

Intrinsic tooth discoloration refers to dental stains that originate from within the tooth structure rather than on the surface of the tooth structure. In other words, these kinds of stains are related to internal issues with the tooth rather than the exposure to substances that can lead to stains.

What causes intrinsic tooth discoloration?

The most common causes of intrinsic tooth discoloration include the following:

  • Injuries to the tooth
  • Infections of the tooth
  • Excessive exposure to fluoride
  • Use of tetracycline at an early age
  • Congenital tooth discoloration (rare condition)

What is the best treatment for intrinsic tooth discoloration?

Since the origin of the tooth discoloration is within the tooth, teeth whitening treatment will be ineffective at addressing these kinds of dental stains. Instead, porcelain veneers, dental bonding, and other kinds of treatment options that involve the concealment of the stain from view will be more effective.

About Age-Related Tooth Discoloration

Age-related tooth discoloration refers to the combination of extrinsic tooth discoloration and intrinsic tooth discoloration causes. The reason that this is associated with age is that a person's smile will go through a lot of wear, tear, and other changes with time.

What is the best treatment for age-related dental stains?

Since age-related dental stains are a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic discoloration, the use of teeth whitening as well as porcelain veneers and tooth bonding are all common. A multi-faceted approach is generally best for these kinds of complicated cases of tooth discoloration.

Learn More About Tooth Discoloration and Your Treatment Options

For more information about your treatment options for tooth discoloration and dental stains, it's important that you contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team here at Smile Solutions by Emmi Dental Associates looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you have a healthier and more beautiful smile in the process.