Among the many factors that affect the appearance of the smile, tooth color is seen by many people as the most important. Try as we might to keep the teeth bright and white, many patients find that their teeth are duller, grayer, or yellower than they would like. The cosmetic dentists at Shreveport Bossier Family Dental Care are happy to offer patients tooth discoloration treatment. However, in order to provide treatment that is likely to be successful, it is important to determine which type of tooth discoloration is present. There are several types of tooth discoloration and each is unique in how it should be adequately treated.
Types of Tooth Discoloration
On the surface, and to the eyes of a non-professional, all tooth discoloration is likely to appear the same. However, our cosmetic dentists can examine the teeth to determine which type of tooth discoloration is present. Understanding the type of discoloration is vital in determining appropriate treatment. Below are types of tooth discoloration from which a patient may suffer:
- Surface discoloration: Surface discoloration, also known as extrinsic discoloration, is stains or discoloring that is present on the outer layer of the tooth, or the enamel. Common causes of surface discolorations include stains from foods or beverages and discoloration from smoking.
- Intrinsic discoloration: Intrinsic discoloration occurs beneath the surface of tooth enamel. This discoloration affects the inner layer of the tooth and may be the result of infection, injury, or exposure to certain medications.
- Age-related discoloration: As a patient ages the teeth are likely to become discolored. While age is the primary cause of this discoloration, the type will still be either intrinsic or extrinsic, or a combination of both, with either the surface or inner layers of the tooth becoming yellow or gray in appearance.
Treating Tooth Discoloration
While it is unfortunate that the teeth are prone to stains and discoloration, it is fortunate that this imperfection can often be easily treated. Below are common tooth discoloration treatments and cases in which they may be most appropriate:
- Teeth whitening: Teeth whitening can quickly and effectively treat many cases of tooth discoloration and is the most popular treatment for discoloration and stains. We offer our patients both in-office and at-home treatment options that can brighten the teeth up to eight shades. While teeth whitening is extremely effective on extrinsic discoloration, it is not the best treatment option for intrinsic discoloration.
- Dental bonding: Dental bonding is a quick and effective cosmetic fix for small areas of tooth discoloration. Bonding material is applied to the treatment area to create a brighter, whiter, surface. Because it conceals discoloration, rather than erase it as teeth whitening does, dental bonding can be used on extrinsic or intrinsic discoloration. However, it is best suited for smaller areas of discoloration or stains.
- Porcelain veneers: Porcelain veneers are dental fabrications that are placed over the teeth to hide cosmetic blemishes, including tooth discoloration and stains. As with dental bonding, flaws are concealed rather than erased, so porcelain veneers are appropriate for both extrinsic and intrinsic discoloration. Unlike dental bonding, porcelain veneers can easily treat several teeth, or even the entire smile.
Schedule an Appointment
At Shreveport Bossier Family Dental Care, we want to make our patients feel confident in their smile. If you are concerned with the color of your teeth or have other cosmetic flaws that you’d like to address, schedule an appointment with one of our talented cosmetic dentists at your earliest convenience. Our state of the art treatment options will give you a reason to smile!