Darkened Teeth: What are the Causes and Treatments?
Teeth can take on a darker appearance for any number of reasons. But, that doesn't mean you have to live with a dull smile. As part of our comprehensive smile program, CG Smile offers a number of solutions for those looking to fix darkened teeth in Miami.
Read on to learn about the science of why teeth become darker and what you can do to reverse it.
Why are My Teeth Darkening?
There are a number of factors that can cause teeth to become darker in appearance. Your age, hygiene, medications, and even your genetic makeup can affect the appearance of your teeth, making them appear darker over time. Some of these can be corrected through teeth whitening, while others require cosmetic restorations to correct.
When teeth become darkened (not just yellowed), it's usually due to intrinsic staining — that is, the stain is actually occurring on the inside of the tooth as opposed to extrinsic surface stains, which occur on the outer layer. Here are some of the most common reasons take on a darker shade:
- Age. Age is actually is a more substantial factor on the appearance of our teeth than many realize. We hardly notice the day-to-day changes that occur with our teeth, but your teeth are constantly changing. Sooner or later you may notice that your teeth have become noticeably darker. The main cause of age-related darkening is thinning enamel. Thinner enamel causes the darker-colored dentin to show through. The thinning of the enamel also coincides with a yellowing of the dentin. Science doesn't really have a solid explanation for why the dentin becomes yellowed, although it is likely caused by chromophores becoming more deeply embedded into the dentin as the enamel wears away.
- Diet and lifestyle. Tea, coffee, wine, and soda are infamous for their staining abilities. The same goes for starchy foods. In case you need another reason to quit, tobacco use stains the teeth and can lead to tooth loss and a whole host of oral health issues.
- Inconsistent oral hygiene. When a patient isn't diligent in brushing, flossing, and attending regular checkups, the teeth can accumulate plaque and tartar. When left untreated, tartar can effectively lock in teeth stains that would otherwise be cleaned with typical oral hygiene practices.
- Pregnancy. Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy. Even the chemistry of the oral cavity undergoes changes which lead to additional plaque buildup (and therefore more teeth stains). Some types of teeth whitening solutions are discouraged during pregnancy. Talk to your dentist if you are pregnant and wondering what teeth whitening options are available.
- Medications. Antibiotics such as doxycycline and tetracycline are well known to cause intrinsic (inner tooth) stains. Even certain chloride-containing mouthwashes can cause staining. These include washes and rinses that contain cetylpyridnium chloride (CPC) and chlorhexidine (CHX). Anti-hypertension and antihistamines are also known to known cause teeth to become stained. This is due to the mouth becoming more arid, therefore there is less of a saliva-cleansing effect.
- Genetics. Genetics is the blueprint of our physiology. Some individuals' genetics included thicker tooth enamel, while others have thinner tooth enamel. If a parent (or parents) is genetically predisposed to darker teeth that cannot be explained by other factors, there is a chance that the children may also inherit the trait
- Environmental factors. Fluoride is known for strengthening teeth, but excess systemic (swallowed) fluoride intake in childhood is associated with a condition known as fluorosis, which can cause teeth to appear darker, yellowed, and mottled.
- Dental trauma. Certain types of dental trauma — especially those occurring during childhood — can disrupt tooth formation and healing. Dental trauma can affect proper nerve and blood vessel function, causing the tooth to die slowly over time, which can give it a darker appearance.
Get Help with Darkened Teeth
If you have darkened teeth, you should know that you have options. Even whitening-resistant teeth can be helped with the CG Smile Makeover from CG Smile in Miami. Call us today for a consultation.
Plan for a Great Smile
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