Types of Tooth Discoloration By Victor Siegel on October 16, 2014

A close-up of a woman’s bright white smileIf you have been feeling self-conscious about stained or discolored teeth, you may be looking into teeth whitening and other options for improving the aesthetics of your teeth. Rockville dentist Victor R. Siegel provides tooth discoloration treatment options for patients with a wide variety of dental issues. Teeth whitening, which removes surface stains, is one of the most popular tooth discoloration treatments. But does it work for all types of tooth discoloration? Before trying traditional teeth whitening, consult an experienced dentist to better understand the source of your discoloration and how to treat it.

Are There Different Types of Tooth Discoloration?

It is easy to assume that all tooth discoloration is the same, but that is not true. Tooth discoloration can be broken up into two types: intrinsic tooth discoloration and extrinsic tooth discoloration. Recognizing and understanding the difference is crucial: these two types of tooth discoloration are caused by different factors, affect a patient’s teeth in different ways, and respond to different methods of treatment.

What Are the Causes of Extrinsic Tooth Discoloration?

Extrinsic tooth discoloration is a staining of the outer enamel layer, and is the most common type of tooth discoloration. Extrinsic tooth discoloration usually develops through eating highly acidic or discoloring foods and beverages like coffee, tea, cola, and red wine. Smoking is another common cause of extrinsic staining.  

What Are the Causes of Intrinsic Tooth Discoloration?

More than just a stain on the surface of the teeth, intrinsic tooth discoloration is more complicated than extrinsic tooth discoloration. Intrinsic tooth discoloration is characterized as discoloration of the dentin, or the inner layer of tooth beneath the enamel surface. This type of discoloration can arise due to issues like injury or trauma to the tooth, nerve damage, or medication.

What Is the Best Tooth Discoloration Treatment?

Different types of tooth discoloration respond to different methods of treatment. Techniques that work for extrinsic tooth discoloration may not work when used to treat intrinsic tooth discoloration.

Because it affects only the outer enamel layer of the tooth, mild extrinsic tooth discoloration can often be solved with whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, and regularly scheduled routine tooth cleaning. More deeply set stains can often be targeted with a professional teeth whitening treatment, like the Zoom!® in-office whitening treatment or an at-home kit offered at the office of Dr. Siegel.

Because intrinsic tooth discoloration affects the dentin beneath the surface of the tooth, teeth cleaning treatments will not be enough to remove any stains. Teeth whitening treatments like Zoom!® have become advanced enough to penetrate the enamel and lighten a tooth throughout, although it may take time. But if this does not work, your dentist may recommend dental bonding or porcelain veneers to conceal discolored teeth rather than lighten them.

Schedule an Exam with Dr. Siegel Today

If you are feeling self-conscious about tooth discoloration, don’t hesitate. Dr. Siegel and his capable team can identify the source of your tooth discoloration and develop the best treatment plan to help you achieve a brighter and whiter smile. Contact our restorative and cosmetic dentistry office to schedule an examination and learn more about your teeth whitening options today.

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Victor R. Siegel, DDS

Dr. Victor R. Siegel and Dr. Aviva Kramer provide compassionate dental care in a relaxed and friendly environment. Our state-of-the-art practice is proud to be affiliated with:

  • American Dental Association
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • American College of Dentists
  • International College of Dentists

Comfort is one of our top priorities, so we offer sedation dentistry to help patients feel relaxed during their treatments. To schedule an appointment at our Rockville, MD, officecontact us online or call (301) 963-4330 today.

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