“Teeth discoloration is mainly a teeth cosmetic issue that occurs when the hard, outer surface of the tooth(enamel) or the layer below the enamel(dentine) become stained.”
Teeth discoloration is often a concern for Singaporeans, especially when we are huge fans of drinking coffee and tea. Stains on the enamel which range from white streaks to yellow tints or brown spots, may affect the self esteem of one. With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, besides a visit to your hair stylist, perhaps you can consider visiting a dentist to obtain a brand new smile!
- Often times, external factors, primarily lifestyle habits, such as smoking, consumption of coffee, cola, foods such as apples or potatoes, can cause the staining of the outer layer of the tooth.
- There could also be internal factors causing the dentin, inner structure of the tooth to darken or have a yellowish tint. Likely causes are:
- an excessive exposure to fluoride during the early childhood times
- a dental trauma tooth as a young child causing damage to the developing permanent tooth
- Systemic disease/illness during tooth formation such hemolytic disease of the newborn
- With ageing, dentin may turn yellow naturally and the stained dentin makes the teeth look discolored
- Dentinogenesis imperfecta is a rare condition in which children are born with gray, amber or purple discolorations in the teeth.
- genetic condition in which enamel formed during tooth development is abnormal and causes discoloration of teeth.
Treating teeth stains caused by external factors are often promising, however, stains caused by internal factors may be more difficult or take longer to remove. There are of course actions we can take for the prevention of teeth discoloration:
- good home care can help prevent teeth discoloration. These include brushing, flossing and rinsing mouth with water after having wine, coffee or other drinks
- simple lifestyle changes to prevent teeth discoloration. If you are a heavy coffee drinkers or smoker, you may want consider reducing the intake or quitting all together
- Improve your dental hygiene by brushing, flossing and getting teeth cleaned by a dentist every 6-12 months.
The dentist can diagnose the cause of the discoloration and accordingly recommend treatment options which include:
- Proper brushing and flossing techniques
- Avoiding of foods and beverages that cause stains
- Vital bleaching sing over-the-counter whitening agents or in-office whitening procedures
- Non-vital bleaching
- Applying a bleaching agent to the enamel of the teeth
- or covering the tooth with a color-matched composite bonding material or Veneers (thin ceramic shells) that cover the outer surfaces of the teeth.
Your dentist may also recommend that intrinsic stains that are caused by damage to a nerve or blood vessel in a tooth sometimes be prevented by removing the inner part of the tooth (the pulp) followed by non-vital bleaching.
A great smile tells people that you are confident and have high self-esteem. Having treatment done is an investment in your appearance and as the saying goes, ‘A great smile goes a long way’. Those who take care of their teeth give people the impression that they take care of themselves well. And of course, improving the condition of your teeth prevents gum disease, thin enamel, and of course the pain and sensitivity.
Convinced that improving the condition of your teeth is important? Visit your dentist today and bring a great smile during your Lunar New Year visiting!
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