Types of Tooth Discoloration
Tooth DiscolorationOne of the most common reasons for visiting a cosmetic dentist is to correct tooth discoloration. At his Nashville office, Clint Newman, DDS, offers a range of treatments for tooth discoloration. Determining the best course of treatment all depends on what type of tooth discoloration each patient is experiencing.
Is All Tooth Discoloration the Same?Many people believe that all tooth discoloration comes from the same cause. This is not the case. Actually, there are two distinctive classifications of tooth discoloration - extrinsic tooth discoloration and intrinsic tooth discoloration. These two types of tooth discoloration have very different causes, and require very different courses of treatment.
Causes and Treatment of Extrinsic Tooth DiscolorationExtrinsic tooth discoloration, or extrinsic staining, is the most common type of discoloration. Extrinsic discoloration is a stain on the outside of the dental enamel. This can be attributed to smoking or excessive consumption of coffee, black tea, red wine, cola, or other dark-colored foods and beverages. Highly acidic food and beverages such as citrus (lemons, oranges,) or vinegar can also cause yellowing of the teeth due to enamel erosion.
In addition to being the most common type of discoloration, extrinsic tooth discoloration is also more easily treatable. In most cases, extrinsic discoloration can be treated effectively through a regimen of whitening toothpastes or mouthwash and a biannual tooth cleaning appointment with your general dentist. More persistent discoloration can normally be taken care of with in-office or at-home tooth whitening treatments, such as the Opalescence® Take-Home Whitening Gel offered at the office of Dr. Newman.
Causes and Treatment of Intrinsic Tooth DiscolorationCompared to extrinsic stains, intrinsic tooth discoloration is more complicated in terms of both cause and treatment. Intrinsic stains are stains that occur beneath the outer enamel, in the part of the tooth known as dentin. This discoloration can come from aging, nerve damage due to trauma and injury, or overexposure to minerals such as fluoride from a young age.
Intrinsic tooth discoloration can often still be treated through a series of in-office or take-home teeth whitening treatments, as teeth whitening technology has advanced to become more potent and effective in recent years. Your cosmetic dentist may need to be more persistent with this plan in the case of intrinsic stains, and you may need more than one treatment over a series of months.
In the case of deep-seated and severe intrinsic staining, however, teeth whitening treatments may not be enough to reverse the discoloration. If this is your situation, your cosmetic dentist may recommend another plan of action such as porcelain veneers to improve the appearance of discoloration.