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What Causes Discolored Teeth?

The saying goes, “you’re never fully dressed without a smile.” We believe you’re never fully dressed without a bright white smile. Unfortunately, keeping your smile white can be difficult especially when you don’t know what’s causing the discoloration. 

At Cherry Family Dental, dental experts Misty Henne, DMD, and Chole Chu, DDS are dedicated to maintaining your white smile with the best whitening treatments available. We also want to educate you on how to keep your smile as bright as can be.

Teeth basics

The first step in understanding why your teeth are discolored is understanding why they’re white in the first place.

There are several different parts of your teeth. And each tooth handles a different job like cutting, chewing, or ripping. 

The two main parts are dentin and enamel. The dentin is a hard tissue that protects the nerves inside your teeth. It’s covered by an extremely hard surface called the enamel. The enamel is made of calcium phosphate, which is a rock-hard mineral. Your enamel is what gives your teeth its white color. 

What’s causing your teeth to yellow

There are several things that can cause your teeth to turn yellow and become discolored. Here's what you should consider when thinking about your oral hygiene:

Using tobacco products

Smoking and chewing tobacco can stain your teeth over time. If you want to get your teeth back to their natural white glow, consider quitting your use of tobacco products.

Not taking care of your teeth

If you’ve simply neglected your dental-care regimen, you’ll start to see your white teeth become discolored. We can guide you through what a proper dental hygiene routine looks like.

Having underlying medical conditions

There are some cases where a disease can impact the enamel and cause your teeth to discolor. Treatments for illnesses like radiation and chemotherapy can also change the color of your teeth.

Taking medications

Certain medications like antihistamines, antipsychotics, blood pressure medications, and some antibiotics have caused teeth to stain and yellow. We don’t recommend you stop taking any medications you have been prescribed, but we can help you combat the discoloration with our whitening methods. 

Getting older

With age, your enamel becomes weaker and starts to wear down exposing the yellow-colored dentin below. We’re here to get your teeth back to where they used to be. 

Consuming harmful foods and drinks

Coffees, teas, sodas, and wine are some of the worst offenders when it comes to teeth discoloration. Foods that are dark in pigment are also responsible for staining teeth. 

How to get rid of discoloration

We have a comprehensive list of ways to whiten your smile, but we start with a free consultation. During this consultation, we asses your dental history. Before we can whiten your teeth, we need to make sure your teeth are healthy. This means addressing any signs of periodontal disease. Our dentists also check for any crowns, bridges, or fillings because only natural enamel can be whitened. 

After your consultation, we recommend two methods of whitening: in-office and at-home. For our in-office treatment, we use the Opalescence® whitening system. This system only takes an hour and a single treatment has a dramatic effect on your teeth. 

During treatment, we use tools to gently move your cheeks and lips from your teeth. Then, we apply the whitening gel. This gel uses potassium nitrate to reduce any sensitivity you might have. To finish, we apply a special light to enhance your whitening results. 

If you’d rather whiten your teeth at your own pace, we offer NiteWhite® take-home kits. These are trays you fill with the whitening solution and leave in your mouth overnight. NiteWhite contains amorphous calcium phosphate which means it’s great if you have sensitive teeth. 

Whatever is causing your teeth to become discolored, we can make them shine once more. If you’re ready to see how our advanced whitening care can change your smile, schedule an appointment online today. 

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