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Tooth Tourism Blog

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tooth Discoloration

Discolored teeth is a common problem for people; causing embarassement while they are talking to someone or laughing. Unfortunately, this is a normal occurence as teeth can become discolored by foods we eat or by changes in the tooth material. Fortunately, there are ways to treat this less than ideal situation.

Discoloration can be divided into three catagories:

  • Extrinsic discoloration - Extrinsic discoloration occurs when the external layer of the tooth (the enamel) is blemished by coffee, wine, cola or other drinks or foods. Smoking also causes extrinsic stains.

  • Intrinsic discoloration - Intrinsic discoloration is when the internal structure of the tooth (the dentin) darkens or gets a yellow color. The causes of extrinsic discoloration include unnecessary exposure to fluoride during early childhood, the maternal use of tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy and also the use of tetracycline antibiotics in children 8 years old or younger.

  • Age-related discoloration - Age-related discoloration is combination of extrinsic and intrinsic reasons. In addition to stains caused by foods or smoking, the dentin naturally yellows over time. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which allows the dentin to show through. Chips or other injuries to a tooth can also cause discoloration, especially when the soft tissue has been smashed.

Other causes for discoloration are: Chewing tobacco, poor dental hygiene, dental materials such as amalgam restorations (especially silver sulfide-containing materials), eating certain foods, genetics, and age.

Preventing Tooth Discoloration

Making some changes to your lifestyle can help prevent teeth discoloration. For example, if you are a coffee drinker and/or smoker, consider cutting back or quitting all together. Also, brushing your teeth after every meal will help to prevent some stains. Going for routine check-ups and having your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist every 6 months is a sure bet for whiter, brighter teeth.

Treating Tooth Discoloration

  • Using proper toothbrushing and flossing techniques
  • Avoidance of the foods and beverages that cause stains
  • Bondings
  • Veneers
  • Using over-the-counter whitening agents
  • In-office whitening procedures performed by your dentist

Need to find a dentist? Let do the work for you. Our Canadian medical professionals have traveled the globe to meet English speaking board-certified dentists who welcome the dental tourist (that's you!)

Contact today for more information on how you can find affordable dental treatments abroad. To speak with a Tooth Tourism representative call (toll free): 1-800-644-9124, Mon - Fri, 9am-5pm PST.


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