Few people are blessed with a naturally white smile. Typically, tooth enamel is white and translucent, while the inner dentin layer is naturally yellow. That creates an off-white or ivory appearance that varies from person to person.
Tooth discoloration happens for a wide range of reasons, including thinning enamel due to age. If you’d like to turn up the whiteness, visit Metairie Village Dentistry, located in Metairie, Louisiana, for a consultation. Offering a range of cosmetic dentistry services, including teeth whitening, Dr. Lisa Wyatt and our team are ready to help you achieve the bright smile you’re after.
What can change the color of my teeth?
There are three types of discoloration that affect teeth. These are:
- Age-related: occurring because you’re getting older
- Intrinsic: caused by something going on within your body
- Extrinsic: factors that start outside the body, such as foods, contacting your teeth
Yellow discoloration is perhaps the most common, but teeth can change to black, brown, gray, or purple, and they can even include spots of white lighter than your natural tooth color.
The ivory white color of your youthful smile may darken and take on a yellow hue as you get older. It’s natural to lose tooth enamel over time so that more of the inner dentin layer shows through.
Food and drink
Another common staining factor is due to the things you eat and drink. The biggest culprits are coffee, tea, red wine, and cola. If it can stain a tablecloth, it can stain your teeth. While tooth enamel may seem to be hard, smooth, and impervious, at the microscopic level, it’s actually porous. Tomato sauce, berries, chocolate, and some food starches can get below the surface and turn your teeth yellow, brown, or purple.
Whether you smoke or chew tobacco, the staining power of nicotine and tar in these products dramatically dulls the brightness of your smile.
Daily brushing and flossing remove plaque. Toothpaste helps to strip away staining plaque before it sets. When you skip daily dental care, you give discoloration a chance to take hold. The same is true when you miss regular dental cleaning appointments.
Blows to the mouth can damage your teeth and nerve tissue. That can result in tooth discoloration, though usually affecting only the teeth involved.
Children who were prescribed certain antibiotics may have their tooth enamel development compromised, causing permanent discoloration that won’t respond to whitening treatments. Other drug classes that create tooth discoloration include antihistamines, antipsychotics, and medications for high blood pressure.
Head and neck radiation treatments and chemotherapy can discolor your teeth.
There’s no whitening process on the consumer market that comes close to the dramatic results offered by dental office treatments. We offer the Zoom!® teeth whitening system to our patients seeking to maximize natural whiteness.
Our other cosmetic solutions include veneers, crowns, and more. Call or click to book a consultation to learn more about the teeth whitening solution that’s right for you.