Discoloration or staining of the teeth is a common occurrence, and can occur due to various situations. The cause of tooth discoloration often determines what the best treatment will be. In most cases, stained teeth can be easily treated in a dental office with a teeth whitening treatment.
Causes of Extrinsic Staining
There are two basic types of tooth discoloration: extrinsic staining and intrinsic staining. Extrinsic staining occurs on the surface of the teeth, and is the easiest to treat.
The most common cause of extrinsic staining is contact with strongly colored foods or beverages, including:
Dark colored fruits
Another all-too-common cause of surface tooth discoloration is smoking.
This type of staining to the teeth can be easily treated by a cosmetic dentist. Treatment can be performed in the office and usually takes an hour or so. The dentist places a whitening agent on the teeth and then lets it sit for a certain amount of time. In some cases, the whitening agent is activated with a special light. The whitening agent is usually removed after about twenty minutes and re-applied.
In-office teeth whitening is usually very effective and provides dramatic results even after a single session. If staining proves more stubborn, though, your dentist might recommend a take-home whitening kit that will whiten your teeth gradually over a period of a week or two.
Causes of Intrinsic Staining
Intrinsic staining refers to discoloration that is part of the tooth structure itself. A common cause of intrinsic staining is use of certain medications, including antibiotics, or excessive exposure to fluoride while the teeth are developing. This can result in gray discoloration in the teeth, often in a striped pattern.
Traditional tooth whitening usually does not work on intrinsic staining, although some new techniques can alleviate this type of discoloration. In general, porcelain veneers or crowns are the best way to restore the tooth to its natural color if staining is intrinsic.
For more information about teeth whitening in Dallas, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.