Many people turn to our cosmetic dentist in Lawrence because of discolored teeth. 

We all would love to have a dazzling, white smile, and because of advances in dentistry like professional teeth whitening and dental veneers, many people can now enjoy the kind of smile they want. However, as with any dental issue, prevention is the name of the game, and it’s very important to understand what causes teeth to become discolored in the first place. The first thing you need to understand is that there are two main types of tooth stains: intrinsic stains and extrinsic stains and the staining can be localized to a few teeth or the entire mouth.

What are intrinsic stains and what causes them? 

If there is darkening on the interior structure of the tooth, it is considered to be intrinsic staining, and there are many things that can cause it:

  • Trauma – When a tooth gets broken or chipped, it can cause damage to the nerve or the enamel, which leads to a darkening of the tooth.
  • Medications – Some antibiotics, like tetracycline, can lead to discoloration, especially in children whose teeth are still developing. Other medications can cause staining as well, such as antipsychotics, antihistamines and antihypertensive medications.
  • Dental Fluorosis – Although fluoride is incredibly important for the prevention of tooth decay, too much fluoride can lead to a condition called dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis causes lines and spots to appear on the teeth, but it really only affects kids whose teeth are still developing under the gum line.
  • Dental Fillings – If you have silver (amalgam) fillings, it will cause the outlying enamel of your tooth to look grayish over time. The older these fillings are, the more damage they will cause to your tooth structure.
  • Aging and Genetics – Unfortunately, some people are predisposed to staining and darker teeth color and the aging process does diminish the brightness of teeth.

Now that you know what intrinsic stains are and what causes them, stay tuned for our next blog to learn about extrinsic stains.