Most patients want a brighter, whiter smile. Fortunately, there are many cosmetic dentistry procedures that can help patients achieve a more dazzling smile. However, patients should understand that all tooth discoloration is not the same. There are many different factors that can lead to stained or discolored teeth. Understanding the cause of each patient’s discoloration is key to providing them with an appropriate whitening treatment. Professional teeth whitening can remove stains and improve the color of the teeth, but this procedure will not produce satisfactory results if it is used on certain types of discoloration. Cosmetic dentist Craig S. Kohler discusses tooth discoloration types with his Chicago patients and then personalizes treatment to best meet each patient’s specific needs. This enables Dr. Kohler to maximize teeth whitening results and patient satisfaction.

Types of Tooth Discoloration

When people notice that their teeth have begun to become discolored or that there are areas of the teeth that have become stained, most assume that teeth whitening treatment will restore a bright, white sheen to their smile. While this is true in many cases, not all types of tooth discoloration respond to teeth whitening. Below are the three primary types of tooth discoloration:

  • Extrinsic discoloration: Extrinsic discoloration is the most common form of tooth discoloration and the type that most people are familiar with. Richly colored foods or tobacco use are commonly the results. The discoloration is described as extrinsic. It does not penetrate past the outer layer of the tooth. Surface stains, are easily treated and respond well to teeth whitening treatment.
  • Intrinsic discoloration: Intrinsic discoloration is more difficult to treat than extrinsic discoloration because it comes from the center of the tooth or the dentin. Common causes of intrinsic discoloration include the use of certain medications or trauma to the tooth that causes the dentin to become discolored. However, deep-set discolorations don’t respond to teeth whitening and will need to be concealed with a dental crown or porcelain veneer.
  • Aging: As patients age, they are likely to see the teeth gray or yellow. Extrinsic stains, because the dentin is beginning to show through the teeth as enamel wears down. Patients with age-related discoloration may get satisfactory results from a teeth whitening treatment. Many times older patients find that dental bonding, dental crowns, or porcelain veneers provide better results.

Schedule an Appointment

Dr. Craig S. Kohler can help you restore a bright, white color to your smile. Schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to learn what type of discoloration is present and explore the cosmetic treatment options to help you enhance the beauty of your smile. We look forward to hearing from you!