Sunday, July 14, 2019

Causes and Treatments of Tooth Discoloration

If you are interested in having your teeth whitened, there are a number of factors you should take into consideration before finalizing that decision. One of these factors is that the current color of your tooth enamel will impact the results of your tooth whitening experience. Also, whitening can be a time-consuming process and requires more than one visit to the dental office.

Your first visit will require a dental examination and x-rays. Another visit will be scheduled for whitening, as long as there are no other treatments necessary for pre-existing dental conditions.

Some patients face situations where their teeth are an uneven color, which can be caused by many things. If the enamel of your tooth is uneven color, it is important to consider that it will whiten unevenly as well. Let's dive into some reasons that teeth become discolored.

Tooth Discoloration Causes

There are many causes of tooth discoloration. The cause of the enamel being discolored will affect the results of a teeth whitening experience. To determine the exact cause of your tooth discoloration, you may need to see a teeth whitening expert from your area.

Causes of Discoloration

The most common causes of tooth discoloration include:

  • Foods and drinks 
    • Dark colored drinks, or drinks that contain a lot of dye, can stain your teeth. Items like coffee, tea, wine, fruit, apples, and potatoes.
  • Tobacco
    • Using tobacco products of any kind can stain your teeth.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene
    • By not brushing or flossing adequately, and not using an antiseptic mouthwash, you can slowly develop tooth discoloration.
  • Disease
    • There are several diseases that can affect the color and density of enamel. They can also affect the dentin underneath the enamel.
  • Treatments
    • A condition that affects the enamel or the dentin can lead to tooth discoloration. Sometimes, it is a treatment for the condition that causes discoloration of these tissues.
  • Medication
    • There are many antibiotics that can discolor or stain teeth. Certain mouthwashes can also cause color changes, including antihistamines and high blood pressure medications.
  • Dental Materials
    • There are many dental materials that can cause discoloration. Restoration materials come in different shades. When your dentist fills a cavity, they choose a color that is closest to your tooth color. If you have your teeth whitened, the filling may stand out.
  • Aging
    • As you age, the enamel of your teeth is worn away. This may reveal the natural color of the dentin underneath.
  • Genetics
    • Some people are born with naturally thicker, or whiter enamel than other people. This means nothing about the health of the tooth.
  • Environment
    • Having excessive fluoride in your environment can cause discoloration of your teeth. This includes high levels of fluoride in water, high fluoride toothpaste, or fluoride treatment applications.

According to Dr. Marc Lazare, a dental implant expert in NYC, the ease of dental discoloration, that results from the factors listed above, has made tooth whitening an integral part of dental health care and patient satisfaction.

Over the Counter Whitening Solutions

Over-the-Counter whitening solutions do not work for most people. Since they only remove surface stains, the stains may reappear after using over-the-counter products.

According to TuftsNow, most patients experience little to no change in the brightness of their tooth enamel with over-the-counter products.

Who Qualifies for Professional Whitening?

Patients who have no evidence of significant dental problems may qualify for a process known as dental bleaching, or whitening.

The type of procedure offered is based on a patient's overall health. There are times when the patient's overall health can be affected by the use of certain bleaching agents.

The type of stains on your teeth will also determine the type of whitening procedure that is used.

How Enamel Impacts Tooth Whitening

To determine whether you are a good candidate for whitening, your dentist will perform a physical examination and take x-rays to ensure that your teeth are healthy and that you do not have any underlying dental problems and that you are not at risk for developing periodontal disease.

Before you have your teeth whitened, your dentist may choose to perform a deep cleaning to remove stains. The color of your enamel will determine the type of whitening product your dentist uses, as well as the strength of the product they use. Sometimes, people with deep stains may require more than one appointment to achieve the desired color of their teeth.

If there are any pre-existing dental conditions they will need to be treated before you can have your teeth whitened to reduce the risk of infection or worsening of the condition from the materials used.

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