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Tooth Discoloration Types, Causes, and Treatments

By Patrick Casey on May 30, 2015

Woman with a bright, white smileThere are many flaws that can compromise the overall appearance of the smile, but tooth discoloration is, by far, the most common cosmetic imperfection. It is almost impossible to keep the teeth looking bright, white, and shiny. Fortunately, restoring the sheen and color of the teeth is quite possible, especially with cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening, which can erase surface stains and improve tooth color. However, the key to getting the whitening results that patients desire is in addressing the type of tooth discoloration that is present. Dr. Charles and Patrick Casey understand and recognize tooth discoloration types and offer our Montreal patients cosmetic treatment that is best-suited to the type of discoloration that is present. In this way, we are able to help our patients effectively improve the color of their teeth and the overall appearance of their smile.

Types of Tooth Discoloration

The types of tooth discoloration refer to the part of the tooth has become discolored. While age-related tooth discoloration is common, there are essentially two types of tooth discoloration: extrinsic and intrinsic (with age-related discoloration likely being a combination of the two). Below are descriptions of intrinsic and extrinsic stains, their causes, and the best methods of treatment for each:

  • Extrinsic tooth discoloration: Extrinsic discoloration refers to discoloration that has developed on the exterior of the tooth. This describes stains or discoloration of the tooth’s outer layer of enamel. Extrinsic discoloration is common. This superficial type of discoloration can be caused by exposure to foods and beverages, tobacco use, or poor oral hygiene habits. While the appearance of the teeth can be affected by extrinsic tooth discoloration, the good news is that extrinsic discoloration responds very well to cosmetic treatment. Professional teeth whitening is the most appropriate cosmetic treatment for extrinsic tooth discoloration. We offer both in-office and at-home teeth whitening treatments that can brighten the teeth by up to eight shades. Professional teeth whitening is simple, safe, non-invasive and cost-effective, making it an ideal solution for extrinsic discoloration.
  • Intrinsic tooth discoloration: Intrinsic tooth discoloration refers to discoloration or staining of the interior layer of the tooth, or the dentin. Intrinsic discoloration can show through the outer layer of tooth enamel, giving the smile a gray or yellow appearance in color. Some factors that are known to cause intrinsic tooth discoloration include the use of certain medications (such as tetracycline antibiotics), overexposure to fluoride, and tooth trauma. Because this discoloration is internal, it will not respond to the bleaching agents used in teeth whitening treatment. Instead, this discoloration will need to be concealed with cosmetic treatments such as dental bonding, dental crowns, or porcelain veneers.

Schedule an Appointment

Whatever type of tooth discoloration is compromising the appearance of your smile, you can rest assured that Drs. Charles and Patrick Casey have a solution. We offer a comprehensive range of cosmetic dentistry treatments that can brighten the teeth and improve the appearance of your smile. Schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to learn more about our teeth whitening treatment options. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Westmount Office

4695 Rue Sherbrooke O
Westmount, QC H3Z 1G2

Open Today 7:00am - 4:00pm

More Info Directions (514) 937-6558