With summer right around the corner, many people are getting their bodies ready for the beach. While it is great that people are getting into shape, it is important not to forget that your teeth are a major factor into making a good first impression. While it isn’t fair to judge a book by its cover, discolored teeth can paint an unflattering picture.

You might think that this is easy to fix with teeth whitening treatment, but not all discoloration responds to whitening. It’s important to find out the source of the discoloration so you can get the treatment that will actually whiten your smile.

woman holding her hand in front of her mouth, embarrassed by her smile

Three Types of Discoloration

Teeth discoloration can be divided into three categories: extrinsic, intrinsic, and aging. Extrinsic staining is what comes to mind when we typically think of discoloration. This is where the exterior of the enamel is stained through eating and drinking. Coffee, wine, smoking, and cola can all stain the enamel, leaving a discolored and dingy appearance. Extrinsic staining responds the best to teeth whitening treatment.

Intrinsic discoloration occurs from within the tooth. The dentin, or the inner layer of the tooth underneath the enamel, darkens and yellows. Exposure to high levels of fluoride during childhood, use of tetracycline antibiotics at a young age, tooth trauma, and enamel erosion are all common causes of intrinsic discoloration. Intrinsic discoloration does not respond well to teeth whitening, and can even harm the tooth if the enamel is severely damaged or eroded. The best way to improve your smile in this situation would be porcelain veneers.

Unfortunately, time isn’t always kind to our teeth and our teeth will naturally begin to discolor with age. This is actually a combination of extrinsic staining and intrinsic discoloration, which makes sense considering how often we eat and drink every day and how time can damage our teeth.01 Our enamel gets thinner with age, so as we get older, our teeth may not respond well to simple teeth whitening treatment. If the overall structure of the teeth is sound, porcelain veneers may be a good option. If not, crowns or even dental implants may be the best route.

Ask a Dentist

If you are unsure about the reason your teeth are discolored, it is a good idea to ask your dentist who can let you know whether your teeth will respond to whitening. Any at home whitening treatment should be cleared by your dentist first, as some have been shown to damage your enamel.

If you live in the West Nyack area, visit Rockland County cosmetic dentist Dr. Dunayer and the team at B&D Dental Excellence. They can help get your smile sparkling white for summer. Please give us a call at (845) 627-7645 to schedule an appointment today.