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close-up of a pretty, white smile

Missing out on your shining smile? That’s the case with most of the adults today? Many adults struggle with tooth discoloration and find it embarrassing to show off their teeth in a smile. There are a host of factors that may cause your teeth to discolor. Your teeth can become discolored by stains on the surface or by changes inside the tooth. There are three main types of tooth discoloration:

Extrinsic

This occurs when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained. This type of discoloration is usually superficial and appears yellow and spread out over the entire tooth. Coffee, wine, cola or other drinks or foods can stain teeth. Smoking also causes extrinsic stains.

Intrinsic

This type of discoloration is not usually spread out over an entire tooth, rather it’s usually small, localized and very dark. Intrinsic discoloration occurs when the dentin, the layer beneath the enamel, begins to darken.

Age-related

Teeth have a tendency to tarnish with time. The dentin inside the tooth naturally yellows with age. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which allows the dentin to show through. Chips, cracks, and other injuries to the tooth also cause discoloration.

Treatment for Tooth Discoloration

From small, subtle changes to major reconstruction, cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of procedures to improve your smile. There are many choices to improve the look of discolored, chipped, misshaped or missing teeth. For some, a combination of treatments will help create the whiter, brighter smile they want.

Tooth Whitening

Removing stains and discoloration helps to lighten and whiten teeth. This process is called teeth whitening or bleaching. Convenient and inexpensive, whitening at home is increasingly popular. Professional teeth whitening delivers optimum results in a relatively short amount of time. Performed under the supervision of a dentist, this method of whitening has gained popularity among those who either are dissatisfied with over-the-counter (OTC) products or don’t want all of the fuss and bother of a professional at-home kit.

Dental Veneers

Veneers are a treatment option to camouflage or reconstruct the appearance of discolored, chipped, oddly shaped or misaligned teeth. They are thin pieces of durable porcelain bonded directly to the front of teeth. A reasonably long-term solution, veneers typically last around 10 to 15 years. For porcelain veneers, a thin layer of enamel is removed from the tooth or teeth to make room for the veneer before the impressions of the teeth are taken. Temporary veneers are placed till the custom colored veneers are fabricated. After placement, veneers are easy to care for.

Dental Bonding

Bonding is among the easiest and least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures. The composite resin used in bonding can be shaped and polished to match the surrounding teeth. Most often, bonding is used for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of a discolored or chipped tooth.

Dental Crowns

A crown is a good way to cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped. It’s also used to cover a dental implant.