Cosmetic Dentistry |3 min read

What Are the Causes and Treatments for Tooth Discoloration?

A closeup of a bright-white smile.There are a variety of treatments available to individuals with discolored teeth. Dr. Silberman can advise you about your options to safely and effectively whiten your teeth. He can determine if whitening will work for you.

As a patient in our practice, you receive FREE teeth whitening for life! We provide you with a dentist-prescribed home whitening kit which includes a professionally fitted tray and professional strength whitening gel. We also offer in-office Zoom!® whitening treatment. When whitening agents do not help, bonding or veneers are alternative solutions for tooth discoloration. From our experience, the home whitening kit we give to our patients during their second hygiene appointment brings very fine results to almost all patients.

Causes of Tooth Discoloration

There are a host of factors that may cause your teeth to discolor. Common reasons teeth become discolored include:

  • Genetics: Some people naturally have thinner enamel or discolored teeth.
  • Medications: A side effect of several medications is “dry mouth” which causes tooth discoloration. Antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, and antipsychotic drugs can also discolor teeth. If you think a medication may be leading to tooth discoloration, talk to Dr. Silberman. Never discontinue the use of a medication without consulting the physician who prescribed that medication. If you received the common antibiotics doxycycline or tetracycline as a child, your teeth may have become discolored.
  • Medical Conditions: Genetic conditions such as amelogenesis or dentinogenesis cause improper development of the enamel and can lead to yellowed, discolored teeth.
  • Poor Dental Hygiene: Failing to brush your teeth at least twice a day or to regularly floss may lead to tooth decay and discoloration.
  • Foods, tobacco and over the counter items containing stannous fluoride: Consumption of certain foods, including coffee, tea, wine, soda, juices such as cranberry juice, and sauces such as tomato sauce, can cause tooth discoloration. Tobacco use causes teeth to turn yellow or brown. Over the counter fluoride rinses and toothpastes containing stannous fluoride can also cause discoloring for some patients.
  • Injury: Trauma to the tooth can result in discoloration.

It is important to note that whitening treatments work only on natural tooth enamel. They do not work on crowns, veneers, bonding materials or tooth-colored fillings.

Dr. Silberman feels that women who are pregnant should not use teeth whitening products. The safety of teeth whitening during pregnancy has not been researched enough to give Dr. Silberman the evidence he would want before recommending using the bleaching materials during pregnancy.

The distribution of teeth whitening products outside of the dental office has become a concern to many officials monitoring public health. Teeth whitening products are sold at shopping mall kiosks, cosmetic counters, spas, salons, online and even on cruise ships. The person selling the service may look very professional. That person may wear scrubs or a lab jacket but have no training about the safety concerns of the whitening product. You may want to think about the following when considering a teeth whitening product which is not dispensed by a dental professional:

  • Is the person applying the bleaching compounds properly trained and following federal guidelines to prevent infections?
  • Is the person administering the treatment following federal guidelines to properly disinfect work surfaces after each person?
  • Is the person who is evaluating the patient wearing gloves?
  • Are safe limits of bleaching chemicals dispensed?
  • Are precautions taken to prevent tooth sensitivity or gum irritation?

Many people enjoy the look and feeling of a white and bright smile. The team members at The Silberman Dental Group want to be sure your smile is white AND healthy.

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