Glendale Cosmetic Dentist Discusses Causes of Tooth Discoloration and Staining

Written by Dr. McKay on Jul 28, 2014

At our Glendale cosmetic dental office, we see patients of all kinds who want to perfect a number of things about their smiles. The most popular request, however, is for a whiter, brighter smile. Although patients of all ages can benefit from tooth whitening treatments, we most often find that adult patients want to brighten their smiles, because they just can’t achieve the same level of whiteness on their own anymore. Understanding how teeth become discolored will help you understand what to do if you notice that your smile is losing some of its luster.


What Causes Dental Stains?


Dental discoloration can result from a variety of factors—both environmental and biological due to aging. Many adult patients find that they are suffering from a combination of environmental stains and structural dental changes, which make teeth appear darker.


We all know that certain foods and drinks can cause stains or streaks on dental enamel. The primary culprit is tobacco—it hurts both the appearance and the health of your teeth. Tobacco products like chewing tobacco, cigarettes, and cigars leave dark, dirty-looking streaks on the surface of teeth. Staining drinks like coffee, tea, and red wine also dull teeth over time. These stains are somewhat avoidable, but the truth is you’ll probably accumulate some as you eat and drink in daily life.


Teeth may also appear dark and dull because your dental enamel is aging. Dental enamel is the white, bright outer covering of your tooth. Not surprisingly, dental enamel becomes thinner and more translucent over time due to wear and tear. This means that more of the darker substance dentin—which is the tooth layer directly under the enamel—shows through to the surface of the tooth. Consequently, teeth appear dark, or yellow in color. This is a natural part of the aging process, and it’s not possible to totally prevent dental erosion. However, both environmental and biological discoloration can be treated with cosmetic solutions.


Whether you’d like to lighten some stains with professional teeth whitening, or completely resurface the appearance of your enamel with dental veneers, modern cosmetic dentistry offers a wide variety of options to rejuvenate your smile even after dental staining. While you can’t completely prevent dental staining, you can still achieve younger-looking smile. Give our Glendale cosmetic dentists a call if you have any questions about cosmetic dentistry or if you’d like to discuss your situation in greater detail—(818) 334-2974.