Tooth discoloration is one of the common dental concerns we treat. Stains on teeth can affect people of all ages and can be a source of embarrassment. For some, it can impact their self-esteem and confidence levels. Dr. S. Jeremy Tu and his team of dentists can treat tooth discoloration in North Liberty, IA, using several treatment options depending on the cause of the problem.
Causes of Tooth Discoloration
Tooth discoloration can occur due to many factors. Some common causes include:
- Certain foods and drinks with intense color pigments such as red wine, coffee, berries, curry, and tea. Constantly consuming them can cause teeth to stain over time.
- Smoking and chewing tobacco can lead to stained or yellow teeth from the constant exposure to nicotine and tar present in these products.
- If you have poor oral hygiene habits such as inadequate brushing and flossing, this will allow plaque and tartar to buildup on the teeth leading to surface stains.
- Injuries or trauma to the teeth can cause internal injuries and result in tooth discoloration.
- An excessive amount of fluoride during tooth development, can lead to internal stains known as fluorosis.
- Certain medications and antibiotics during tooth development especially in childhood can also cause internal stains.
Why are my teeth yellow near the gum line?
Gingival recession can lead to yellow teeth near the gum line. This is when gums recede and the tooth roots become exposed. The dentin layer of the tooth is yellow and is now exposed. When the root surface is visible, your teeth appear yellow near the gums. Gingival recession happens when you brush too hard, suffer from gum disease, have misaligned teeth, or from natural aging.
Types of Teeth Stains
Teeth stains can be classified into three main categories:
These types of stains affect the outer layer of the tooth, the enamel layer. Extrinsic stains are caused by external factors such as tobacco use, foods, drinks, and poor oral hygiene practices.
These types of stains occur inside the tooth’s structure. They are caused by factors during tooth development, trauma, certain medications (e.g., tetracycline antibiotics), or excessive fluoride.
The aging process will cause our enamel to naturally wear down. This reveals the underlying dentin, which is yellow in color. This is a gradual process that will make your teeth appear yellow and more discolored over time.
Treating Tooth Discoloration in North Liberty, IA
Dr. Tu offers several treatment options for tooth discoloration in North Liberty, IA. Here is a list of the options that are available to address tooth discoloration and stains:
- Professional Teeth Whitening: We offer professional at-home teeth whitening kits. It includes bleaching agents and a custom mouthpiece to lighten the color of your teeth from the comfort of your home. To learn more how our whitening treatment works, see Teeth Whitening.
- Porcelain Veneers: Thin shells made of porcelain can be placed on the front surface of the teeth to cover stains or discoloration and provide a brighter, more uniform appearance. To learn more about the dental veneer process, see Porcelain Veneers.
- Dental Bonding: Dr. Tu will use a tooth-colored composite resin material to cover up stains. He will apply it to the affected tooth or teeth to cover stains and improve their appearance. To learn more about the dental bonding treatment, see Tooth Bonding.
- Dental Crowns: If discoloration is severe or intrinsic, we can use a dental crown to cover up the stains as well as fix any damage. This involves covering the entire tooth with a cap that matches the surrounding teeth. To learn about the dental crown process, see Dental Crown.
There Are Many Ways to Prevent Tooth Discoloration
Tooth discoloration may be inevitable as we age; however, there are many ways to prevent it. Everyone should follow these preventive measures to help minimize it:
- Maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day.
- Limit the consumption of staining substances such as coffee, tea, red wine, and highly pigmented foods.
- Avoid all tobacco products.
- Rinse your mouth with water after consuming staining foods or beverages to minimize their impact.
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and dental examinations.
Treating your discolored teeth can brighten your smile and make you feel better about yourself. Dr. Tu offers many treatment options for tooth discoloration in North Liberty, IA for patients who suffer from intrinsic or extrinsic tooth stains. Call our office today at (319) 284-4361 to book a consult, or you can request an appointment online by filling out the form.