Yellow, stained, and discolored teeth are a common cosmetic concern that many people face. It is a small cosmetic concern however, it can be the source of embarrassment and self-esteem issues. Many people will hide their smile due to the appearance of their teeth. Fortunately, there are many options in dentistry that can fix it. Dr. Keith Boenning and Dr. Nathan Dancykier offer several cosmetic dentistry treatments that can address discolored teeth in Towson, MD.
Types of Teeth Stains
There are two types of teeth stains; intrinsic and extrinsic. Each type will require different types of treatment.
The most common type of tooth stains are extrinsic stains. This is when the outermost layer of the tooth (the enamel) becomes yellow, stained, or discolored. Extrinsic stains are typically caused by lifestyle choices such as the food or drinks you consume, smoking, or poor oral hygiene. Consuming an excess amount of coffee, red wine, or any dark colored food or beverage can lead to this type of stain. Extrinsic stains can typically be controlled with regular dental cleanings, proper oral hygiene habits, and lifestyle modifications.
These types of stains are located within the tooth, under the enamel and dentin layers. They are very difficult to address since they are located on the inner layers of the tooth. Intrinsic stains are caused by things like an excessive amount of fluoride, trauma to the tooth, tooth decay, aging, genetics, certain medications, and some diseases. Theses types of stains can appear as a brownish, gray, or blue-gray in color. A typical whitening treatment to the surface of the tooth will have a very limited affect on these types of stains. Permanent dental treatments are used to treat intrinsic stains.
Treatment for Stained or Discolored Teeth
There are several options available to you to treat your stained, yellow, or discolored teeth. We offer teeth bleaching, including vital and non-vital whitening, and several other restorative and cosmetic dentistry options. Dr. Boenning or Dr. Dancykier will first need to assess your teeth to determine the best treatment options for you. Then they will make suggestions based on your current oral health conditions, goals, and budget.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening involves using a high concentration of bleaching gel that we will activate with a special light. Your dentist will perform this treatment in our Towson, MD office. It is considered a vital whitening treatment since it is performed on teeth with live nerves.
We also offer non-vital whitening where the pulp and nerves have been removed from inside the tooth. Here, we can place the bleaching gel inside the tooth to whiten it. Professional teeth whitening can typically only treat extrinsic stains. To learn more about the tooth whitening treatments we offer, see Teeth Whitening.
Other Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry Options
Unfortunately, there are some stains that cannot be treated with professional teeth whitening. For these types of stains, your dentist may recommend a more permanent treatment. These treatments are capable of instantly whitening your teeth. Your dentist may recommend these for intrinsic stains as well. You can permanently whiten your teeth with any of the following treatments:
A porcelain veneer is an ultra thin shell made of porcelain that your dentist will bond to the front portion of your tooth. Porcelain is a great material to use because it is strong and durable and will mimic the appearance of a natural tooth. The tooth veneer will hide the discolored tooth and then create the appearance of a flawless, whitened tooth. To learn more about the dental veneer process, see Porcelain Veneers.
A dental crown is a great choice if you want to whiten a tooth that has also suffered some damage. A tooth crown is a cap that will completely encase the tooth to the gum line. Your dentist will need to reduce the tooth in size to accommodate the tooth crown. We will color match it and make sure it blends into your smile seamlessly. To learn more about the crown process, see Dental Crown.
A dental bonding treatment is a great way to achieve a brighter smile if you are on a budget or if you are not ready for a permanent solution. Your dentist will apply the bonding material to the surface of your tooth to hide discoloration and then cure it with a light. This is not a permanent treatment and will only last for a few years. However, it is a very affordable solution. To learn more about the dental boding procedure, see Teeth Bonding.
Discolored Teeth FAQs
To learn more about discolored teeth, read the following answers to frequently asked questions. If you have further questions, contact us during regular office hours.
Why are my teeth yellow?
There are many things that can lead to yellow teeth or dull-looking teeth. Smoking and tobacco use can yellow teeth. Staining foods such as berries, coffee, tea, and red wine can also contribute to yellow teeth.
Does teeth whitening hurt?
When we apply the bleaching gel to your teeth, it will not hurt. However, there may be some minor tooth or gum discomfort. This typically does not last and should subside in 24 to 48 hours.
Are there foods or drinks that can lead to discolored teeth?
Yes, your dietary habits play a huge roll role in your teeth becoming discolored. Consuming certain things can lead to teeth staining over time. The most likely beverages include tea (especially black tea), red wine, coffee, dark sodas, and sports drinks with high levels of artificial coloring. Foods that are most likely to cause stained teeth include curry, tomato sauces, balsamic vinegar, beets, dark colored berries, and candy with high levels of food coloring.
Are over-the-counter teeth whitening products safe and effective to address tooth discoloration?
Over-the-counter or store bought teeth whitening products can be safe if used correctly. They will most likely only address minor surface stains. However, the main issue is the results can be unpredictable compared to professional teeth whitening. If you do not use them as directed, you may experience uneven results, sensitive gums, or no results at all. Professional teeth whitening is over-seen by dental professionals making it more likely to address tooth stains effectively and safely. Your dentist can tailor your whitening treatment to meet your needs.
Schedule an Appointment to Whiten your Teeth
Dr. Boenning or Dr. Dancykier will examine your teeth to determine which whitening treatment will work best for you. It will be important to know what your lifestyle habits are to help your dentist better understand your teeth’ discoloration. They will compile a treatment plan for you to deliver the best results. Schedule your appointment today by calling 410.324.2294 or by requesting an appointment online.