Discolored teeth is such a common problem that there are nearly entire aisles of grocery stores dedicated to whitening your teeth. Dull, yellowed teeth can make us feel insecure about our smile. Did you know that discoloration can be caused by either external and internal factors? Sometimes both factors can affect a smile. There are two types of ways that teeth become discolored: extrinsic and intrinsic discoloration. The two types of discoloration have to be addressed differently, so it is important for you and your dentist to identify what type of discoloration affects your smile. Extrinsic stains happen on the outside of the teeth and can be removed through whitening, while intrinsic stains come from inside the tooth and cannot be removed through whitening.
Extrinsic stains affect the enamel of your teeth, which is the outermost layer of teeth. Lifestyle factors usually cause extrinsic discoloration. Lifestyle choices like drinking coffee, tea, or dark soda, smoking cigarettes, or drinking alcohol, can all lead to discolored teeth. External stains can also be the result of years of bad hygiene and a build-up of plaque and tartar. Sometimes, a good professional dental cleaning can be enough to remove extrinsic discoloration, while oftentimes, a professional whitening treatment is necessary.
Intrinsic discoloration is caused by a development within the inner tissue of the tooth. The enamel of teeth is translucent, which allows for this inner discoloration to show through. It may be caused by certain medications or health issues. Matured age can cause both intrinsic and extrinsic discoloration of teeth. Internal trauma to the tooth, whether injury, damage, or infection, can lead to intrinsic stains. Professional whitening cannot remove intrinsic staining because the issues come from inside the tooth. If your efforts to whiten your teeth on your own have been fruitless, your discoloration may be coming from within the tooth. There are cosmetic options, like bonding or veneers, that can cover up intrinsic discoloration. If the intrinsic stain is a sign of trouble within your tooth, your dentist may recommend more than just cosmetic treatment.
Ask Dr. Carmona what could be causing your tooth discoloration. To schedule a consultation with Austin Prosthodontics in Austin, TX, call 512-250-9444. We also proudly welcome patients from Cedar Park, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, and all surrounding Texas communities.