Deciphering Your Tooth Discoloration

All tooth stains are not created equal. Tooth discoloration can have different causes and can appear as various colors (grey, yellow, brown, etc.) and patterns. Fortunately, today’s advancements in cosmetic dentistry make it possible to reverse most types of dental stains with professional teeth whitening. However, understanding which type of tooth discoloration you have and what caused it is the best way to help you avoid a dull or dingy smile in the future.

Here are some common tooth staining agents:

Foods and Beverages (chromogenic compounds)


Often, the most obvious reason for your yellow or brownish smile is your diet. Dark compounds found in products like coffee, tea, cola, wine and tobacco can result in a generalized discoloration across your smile.
As we get older, we naturally lose some of our enamel layer of our teeth. This causes the yellow dentin layer to be more visible.
Your genes can play a notable factor in the baseline shade or color of your teeth. Some people were born with a more grey or yellow tone to their smile.
Tetracycline (and other medications)
Tetracycline tooth stains are commonly talked about as one of the most disruptive side effects of this medication. Many people suffer from yellow-brown or even a blue-grey discoloration after longer periods of tetracycline use or other antibiotics.
Although it is less common, too much fluoride consumption can cause a condition called fluorosis, which is typically marked by the presence of chalky white spots or lines across multiple teeth.
Internal tooth trauma
When the nerve space of a tooth is damaged, the tooth can appear brown or gray. This is typically isolated to the single tooth that is affected. It can also occur after a root canal treatment.
Tooth decay
Tooth decay can produce visible color changes during the early stages (white spots) as well as the more advanced stages (brown or black). The area of discoloration will typically grow unless it is repaired.
Poor oral hygiene
Neglecting to brush and floss properly can also result in surface stains on your teeth. The areas around the gum line can be especially vulnerable as well as other crevices in your smile that are more challenging to clean.

Need help diagnosing your tooth discoloration? Schedule an appointment with us at Park South Dentistry. We offer the latest and most proven systems in teeth whitening so that you can regain the brilliant and dazzling white smile you deserve.

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