By Richard G Mark DDS
February 09, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Learn how to deal with your dental stains from your Independence dentist.teeth whitening

Would you like a whiter, brighter smile? Dentists offer several options that can improve the appearance of your teeth. Dr. Richard Mark, your Independence, MO, dentist, shares common causes of discolored teeth and explains what you can do to lighten your smile.

What causes discolorations?

Tooth discolorations occur due to a variety of reasons, including:

  • Smoking: Any product that contains tobacco, including cigarettes, pipes and chewing tobacco, can stain your teeth. The problem occurs when nicotine combines with oxygen and turns your teeth yellow.
  • Foods and Beverages: Anything you put into your mouth can stain your teeth. If you've ever spilled coffee on a white shirt, you probably had a difficult time removing the stain. Any food or beverage that stains a white shirt will also stain your teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, cola, soy sauce, tomatoes, berries and sports drinks are common culprits.
  • Fluoride Exposure: Fluoride helps keep your teeth strong by remineralizing your tooth enamel, but like anything else, too much fluoride can cause problems. If you've been exposed to high levels of fluoride, you may develop fluorosis, a disorder that causes brown or yellow stains on your teeth.
  • Dental Work: Large silver amalgam fillings may make your tooth look darker.
  • Medications: If you took the antibiotics tetracycline or doxycycline as a young child, one or more of your teeth may be discolored. Other medications, such as some high blood pressure drugs, antihistamines and antipsychotics, may also cause discoloration.
  • Aging: It's not unusual for a little enamel erosion to occur as you age. When the enamel wears away, the darker yellow tissue underneath called dentin is revealed.
  • Trauma: An injury to your tooth or the death of a nerve inside the pulp can darken your tooth.
  • Genetics: Some people just naturally have whiter teeth than others. If you inherited dull or yellow teeth, no amount of brushing will lighten your teeth.

How can I improve the appearance of discolored teeth?

Teeth can be whitened with:

  • Professional Whitening Treatments: Professional whitening is very effective at lightening teeth dulled by aging or stained by cigarettes or foods or beverages.
  • Veneers: Veneers, thin shells that are attached to the fronts of teeth, cover discolorations on one tooth or can be used to whiten all of your teeth.
  • Crowns: A crown, a hollow restoration that slides over the tooth, is very effective in hiding discolorations.

Would you like to whiten a discolored tooth? Call Dr. Mark, your Independence, MO, dentist, at (816) 461-3660 to schedule your appointment.