Dental Discoloration – Causes and Treatment

Tooth stains One of the biggest complaints of patients when they come to the dentist’s office is related to the appearance of the teeth, especially their color or the presence of stains on the teeth.

Every day we meet people who are unhappy with the color of their teeth and who want an improvement.

Aspects related to the structure of the teeth can point to the origin of discoloration or yellowish color:

The hard tissues of the teeth that can influence the natural shade are enamel and dentin.

Dentin is the deep layer found immediately adjacent to the pulp chamber and has a more yellowish color.

The enamel intimately covers the dentine, is white, translucent but varies from one individual to another.

Thus, if anatomically, the enamel layer is thinner and less opaque, the yellowish dentin may show through, giving the tooth an unsatisfactory appearance for patients.

Patients often want white teeth, with aesthetics taking precedence over health in most cases.

However, the results of whitening treatments vary from patient to patient depending on the conformation of the hard dental layers and the effectiveness of the treatment applied.

Also, whitening treatments may result in a return to the original appearance after varying periods of time.

Another method that successfully treats dental discoloration is veneering. If the defect concerns the directly visible buccal surface of the teeth, they can be minimally polished and veneered.

However, for veneers to be clinically successful, the patient must practice excellent hygiene of the oral cavity and follow the postoperative instructions of the dentist.

Causes of discoloration

These are varied and can be extrinsic or intrinsic:

Extrinsic causes of discoloration are factors acting from the external environment, the resulting pigmentation being easier to remove.

Coffee consumption, colored drinks, teas, red wine and smoking can pigment dental surfaces if consumed often. Discoloration caused by external factors can be removed by professional scaling and brushing.

Intrinsic causes of tooth discoloration are more complicated to remove as they mainly affect the dentin, the hard tissue beneath the enamel.

The use of drugs such as tetracycline, tooth decay, advancing age resulting in the deposition of thicker layers of dentin or some infectious diseases can cause dentin discoloration.

Also, previous endodontic treatments can change the color of teeth over time, giving them an unsightly, greyer appearance.

Of the treatment methods currently available, your dentist will choose the ones that suit your case. The cause of the discoloration, the patient’s hygiene, age, desired results and the possibility of maintaining the results over time will all be taken into account.

Thus, in some cases scaling and professional hygiene are sufficient to achieve the desired results. However, in most cases the treatment is much more complex and involves bleaching treatments using chemicals applied in a mouthpiece or activated under a lamp in the dental surgery, veneers or even veneer crowns in severe cases with other complications.

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