Young Man Showing His Yellow Teeth that Could Totally Use Some Teeth WhiteningWhen you flash yourself a grin in the mirror, do you like what you see or do you see that yellowish or brownish discolorations make your smile look less-than-brilliant? Unfortunately, those discolored teeth can cause people to perceive you as unhealthy, unkempt, and unprofessional. While teeth are susceptible to a wide range of stains, your dentist has several safe and effective solutions, like professional teeth whitening to help you get the vibrant smile you need to complete your polished, professional look. 

Two Major Categories of Tooth Stains

Tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body, yet a number of factors can cause it to become discolored. Before your Lake Forest IL cosmetic dentist will suggest a given procedure, he will first need to determine the source of the staining. Enamel stains fall into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic stains, as the name suggests, come from within the tooth and can be caused by a number of factors, such as:

  • Damage to a tooth from an injury or root canal therapy can cause a tooth to have a greyish cast.
  • Overexposure to fluoride during childhood, referred to clinically as fluorosis, can prompt the formation of white spots on the enamel.
  • Taking certain antibiotics, namely tetracycline, can impart severe stains on the teeth.

Extrinsic stains, on the other hand, come from outside sources, most commonly:

  • Daily intake of coffee, tea (hot or iced), or dark fruit juices like grape juice or cranberry juice.
  • Regular intake of red wine.
  • Eating dark or acidic foods like tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and blueberries.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco will leave signature brown stains on the teeth.

Solutions for Removing or Hiding Tooth Stains

The most popular cosmetic dental treatment in America is teeth whitening and an at-home teeth whitening system offered at most dentist’s offices is a great way to address extrinsic stains. Intrinsic tooth stains that cannot be removed using a take-home whitening kit can be addressed with cosmetic bonding or porcelain veneers. If dark stains are detracting from the beauty of your smile, talk to your dentist about the best solution for your situation.


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