Are your pearly whites better described as an unsightly shade of yellow? Yellow teeth can be embarrassing and socially awkward, but there’s no need to hide your smile forever.
A skilled cosmetic dentist can determine the underlying cause and contributing factors of discoloration and offer personalized treatment recommendations to get your teeth gleaming again.
Common causes of yellow teeth
Before recommending effective treatment options for your tooth discoloration, your dentist will first ask you some questions to determine the probable cause of the problem. There are three general types of teeth discoloration: Extrinsic and intrinsic stains, and age-related discoloration.
Extrinsic stains affect only the outer layer of the tooth, which is the enamel. Extrinsic stains often develop when a person consumes highly pigmented foods and beverages, including coffee, cola, green tea, wine, grapes, and blueberries. These pigmented foods contain a substance called chromogens, which readily adhere to tooth enamel.
Another common cause of extrinsic tooth discoloration is smoking. It’s important to note that smoking also significantly increases the risk of gum disease and eventually, tooth loss.
Intrinsic tooth stains affect the inner layer of the tooth beyond the enamel. This is known as the dentin. The dentin can darken or develop a yellow tint when a person uses tetracycline antibioticsas a young child or if that person’s mother used tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy. Early childhood trauma to the teeth or trauma to the permanent teeth that caused internal bleeding can also cause intrinsic stains. Sometimes, intrinsic stains are caused by fluorosis during early childhood, which is a condition that involves excessive exposure to fluoride.
Lastly, age-related teeth discoloration can involve a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Over time, the dentin naturally turns yellowish and this process can be exacerbated by lifestyle issues like smoking and the consumption of pigmented foods. Additionally, with age, the enamel becomes thinner. This allows the discoloration of the underlying dentin to become more visible.
Options for restoring your beautiful smile
Your dentist will choose the best treatment for you based on the type of discoloration you have. Extrinsic stains respond very well to professional teeth whitening. Laser teeth whitening in particular can be very effective and will produce rapid results.
For intrinsic stains or age-related discoloration, your cosmetic dentist might recommend more extensive treatment. You may be a good candidate for dental veneers, which involve placing a wafer-thin sheet of custom-made porcelain over the front sides of the teeth to camouflage imperfections. If porcelain veneers aren’t a good choice for you, you could receive a new dental crown, which fits like a cap over your existing tooth, providing a natural appearance.
Cosmetic dentistry in NYC
Dr. David Blaustein has been pleased to serve residents throughout Chelsea and Midtown for more than 20 years. A widely lauded practitioner of cosmetic dentistry in NYC, Dr. Blaustein welcomes new and current patients at Chelsea Dental Aesthetics, where he provides laser teeth whitening, white fillings, porcelain veneers, and porcelain crowns, among other cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry services.
Call 347-774-4015 to request your one-on-one consult with Dr. Blaustein.
- WebMD, Dental Health and Tooth Discoloration, http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tooth-discoloration
- Live Science, Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow? http://www.livescience.com/54420-yellow-teeth.html