Saint Louis Dentist Discusses Common Underlying Causes Of Enamel Staining And Discoloration

Written by Dr. Grayem on Apr 11, 2017

It happens to so many people: you take a look at your teeth in the mirror one day, and you notice that they are looking darker and grimier than you remember. Didn’t your smile used to sparkle?

The truth is that dental discoloration is an exceptionally common dental issue among patients of many ages. Although, for many people, it seems as though dental stains popped up overnight, in most cases enamel change color gradually over time. Keep reading to get more information from our Saint Louis dentists about why dental discoloration tends to develop.

Young and healthy enamel is generally some shade of white; it also looks shiny and luminous. One reason why your teeth may start to look stained is become your enamel has absorbed colors from foods, drinks, and tobacco products: this type of discoloration is called environmental staining. Here are some substances that can leave color deposits on your teeth: coffee, tea, cola, red wine, red sauces, richly colored berries, chocolate. The longer that staining substances are allowed to hang out on your enamel, the more likely it is that they’ll cause dental stains.

Teeth can also start to look dark and yellow when dental enamel thins. Dental enamel is the outermost layer of your tooth, and this tooth layer is what gives your smile a white and bright appearance. Under the enamel is a tooth layer called dentin; dentin is naturally darker and yellower then enamel. So, if your enamel becomes thinner, more of the tooth’s dentin is able to show through to the surface of your smile.

Individual teeth may also change color due to injury or damage. For example, if a dental root is damaged and dies, the surrounding tooth structure will look dark, grey/black, and dull. In these cases, the dental issue goes far beyond aesthetics, and restorative treatment will probably be necessary.

Our Saint Louis dentists are here to determine the underlying causes of your dental discoloration, so that we can recommend treatments that suit your specific needs. Schedule a consultation with our team to get started—you may be surprised at just how much better your smile can look once it is whitened and brightened.