All patients aspire to have a bright, healthy smile, but many individuals are unaware of the genetic and lifestyle factors that can cause tooth enamel to gradually yellow over time. There are many different components that can contribute to exterior surface stains as well as intrinsic tooth discoloration, including:
- Food and drink: Regular consumption of coffee, tea, red wine, cola, blueberries, or blackberries can lead to surface discoloration that may penetrate below the enamel over time. In general, any type of food or drink with high amounts of sugar can be a staining agent.
- Tobacco: The nicotine and tar in tobacco products are known to rapidly yellow the teeth, with higher rates of enamel discoloration often found in patients who smoke or chew tobacco. After years of heavy tobacco use, it is not uncommon for the teeth to darken significantly and appear brown.
- Poor oral hygiene: If the teeth are not brushed and flossed daily, sugar and food residue left on the enamel can cause a buildup of plaque and/or tartar. This can eventually lead to widespread decay, accelerated thinning of the enamel, and discoloration.
- The aging process: Teeth usually yellow over time due to an accumulation of external and internal staining. Since the dentin—the core tissue of the teeth—has a naturally yellow hue, it can become more visible as the surface enamel naturally thins with age.
Fortunately, professional teeth whitening from a cosmetic dentist can remove both intrinsic and extrinsic staining, resulting in whiter teeth and a gleaming smile that you can be proud of. Our Sinsational Smile® and Opalescence® GO™ whitening systems are designed to lighten your tooth color by several shades in a fairly short treatment time. Drs. Eric Klumb and Mike Menolascino offer an in-office procedure as well as at-home whitening kits at our Eureka practice, both of which can be tailored to your lifestyle preferences and tooth sensitivity levels. For patients with severe discoloration, porcelain veneers may be a better solution to restore white, healthy-looking teeth. These custom-crafted porcelain shells are typically stain resistant, which can help your smile remain color-stable over the years.
If you have any questions about teeth whitening, or if you are ready to schedule a consultation with Dr. Eric Klumb or Dr. Mike Menolascino, please contact our practice today.