In the same way that we worry when we discover certain changes in the skin or any other organ, so should our teeth and their health benefit from our attention
Under certain circumstances-stained teeth can occur. These discolorations can have many causes. Therefore, regular check-ups and reporting changes to the dentist should be part of everyone’s medical education.
Stains can appear spontaneously or, on the contrary, over time, the color changing gradually. Each of these are signs that point to different diagnoses and, therefore, treatment plans.
Depending on the mechanism of occurrence and the depth of the stains we classify the factors that cause dental stains into extrinsic and intrinsic.
- For example, brown stains can be due to frequent consumption of coffee, tea or smoking. These stains are extrinsic, they only affect the outer surface of the tooth enamel and can be removed by a professional cleaning session in the dental surgery.
- The yellowish color of the teeth is a shade that most patients find unsatisfactory. It should be noted that this can be the natural color of the teeth, and often cannot be changed by simple dental hygiene.
- The dentin layer (yellow-brown) lies just below the superficial enamel layer (white and translucent). The thinner the enamel thickness, the more the yellowish-brown color of the dentine shows through the enamel.
- Black-stained teeth in the vicinity of old dental amalgam fillings. Dental amalgam is a mixture used in the past to make dental fillings. Among the drawbacks of this material is that it “tattoos” healthy, nearby dental tissue by impregnating it with mercury.
- Also, with advancing age the color of the teeth darkens.
- Brown stains are not always due to food or smoking. Sometimes they hide carious lesions which, if treated as soon as possible, reduce the risk of spreading and damaging deeper dental structures.
- Excessive intake of fluoride leads to acute intoxication, also known as fluorosis. In the first phase, at low doses, it manifests itself as unevenly dispersed white spots, and in the advanced stages of fluorosis it turns yellow and even brown. Fluoride is found in drinking water mainly in certain geographical regions. External intake, via tablets, is a fluoridation treatment that prevents the appearance of caries, but can lead to the formation of fluorosis stains, a process that is irreversible once the tablets are stopped.
- Sometimes, these white spots can be colored by the food consumed such as coffee, red wine, tea, berries, in the respective shades.
- Tetracyclines pass through the placental barrier, concentrate and are deposited in the bones and teeth of the fetus and combine with calcium. The risk period is in the last two trimesters of pregnancy. In children exposed to tetracycline in utero the teeth may be yellow and susceptible to caries, enamel hypoplasia and retardation of bone growth may occur. Tetracyclines should therefore be avoided after the first trimester of pregnancy and in children under 8 years of age.
- White, chalky spots may occur in the early stages of dental caries, when the enamel is demineralized.
- Acids formed as a consequence of dental plaque dissolve tooth enamel, leaving its surface dull, whitish. At this stage, through remineralization carried out in the dental surgery, the caries process is stopped and the tooth regains its natural shine.
Professional hygiene in the dental office consists of scaling, professional brushing and air-flow as needed.
Air-flow uses a mixture of baking soda powder and water which, applied to the teeth with pressure via a device, effectively removes extrinsic stains, even interdental stains, a more difficult area to tackle in general.
To achieve the whiteness of teeth that everyone wants, in the case of deep stains, we must turn to teeth whitening. Spectacular results in terms of dental aesthetics, fast and long-lasting, are obtained in professional whitening carried out under the close supervision of the dentist.
In complex cases, such as the one shown in the picture, veneer crowns are the optimal solution.
Dental check-ups every 6 months, together with professional hygiene, can detect stains early, determine their cause and, by removing the agent responsible and treating it appropriately, restore the health and natural appearance of the teeth.