Discolored Teeth

At Palmetto Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we understand that having a bright, white smile is important to you, and discoloration can often affect how you feel about your smile. 

Discolored teeth are a common concern for many people, impacting both the aesthetic appeal of their smile and sometimes their self-confidence. Let’s explore together how you can achieve and maintain the bright smile you desire.

Causes of Discolored Teeth

  • Food and Beverages: It’s important to be aware that certain foods and drinks, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and some fruits, have the potential to stain teeth due to their pigmentation. Regular consumption of these items without proper oral care can lead to discoloration over time.
  • Tobacco Use: One well-documented cause of severe tooth discoloration is tobacco use, whether in the form of smoking or chewing. Cigarette smoke contains tar and nicotine, both of which can stick to teeth and leave permanent, ugly stains.
  • Poor Dental Hygiene: Neglecting proper brushing and flossing practices can contribute to the accumulation of plaque on the teeth. This plaque, if not removed regularly, can harden into tartar, which not only affects oral health but also leads to staining of the enamel.
  • Disease and Medications: It’s worth noting that certain illnesses and medications can have an impact on tooth color as a side effect. For instance, some antibiotics like tetracycline can cause intrinsic staining in developing teeth, leading to discoloration that may be challenging to address.
  • Aging: As we age, the outer enamel layer of our teeth naturally wears away, revealing the underlying dentin, which is inherently yellower in color. This gradual process of enamel erosion over time can contribute to the perceived yellowing of teeth as we grow older.

Types of Tooth Discoloration

  • Extrinsic Discoloration: This occurs when the outer layer of the tooth (enamel) is stained by substances like coffee, wine, or tobacco.
  • Intrinsic Discoloration: This is staining within the tooth, often caused by medication use, trauma, or varying health conditions.
  • Age-Related Discoloration: Combines extrinsic and intrinsic factors, with the natural yellowing of dentin over time and thinning enamel.

Preventing Tooth Discoloration

  • Proper Oral Hygiene Practices: Brushing twice a day and flossing daily to remove plaque and stain-producing substances.
  • Limiting Staining Foods and Beverages: Consuming stain-causing foods and drinks in moderation and then rinsing your mouth with water afterward.
  • Regular Dental Checkups: Professional cleanings can remove surface stains and help prevent discoloration.

Treatment Options for Discolored Teeth

  • Over-the-Counter Solutions: Whitening toothpastes and strips can offer minor improvements for extrinsic stains.
  • Professional Teeth Whitening: Offers a more significant and immediate difference in the color of your teeth, tailored to your specific needs.
  • Dental Veneers: Thin, custom-made shells designed to cover the front surface of our teeth to improve appearance.
  • Bonding and Crowns: Can be used to cover discolored teeth, especially if the discoloration is intrinsic.


How long do teeth whitening results last?: Results can vary depending on your oral hygiene habits and lifestyle. Typically, they can last from 6 months to 2 years.

Can I still drink coffee or wine after teeth whitening?: It is best to limit consumption of staining substances, but you can continue to enjoy them in moderation. It is important to practice good oral hygiene and rinse your mouth after consumption. In some cases, touch-up treatments may be necessary.

Can children get their teeth whitened?: Teeth whitening is not recommended for children under the age of 16, as their permanent teeth are still developing. Consult with a dentist before considering any whitening treatments for children.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

If you’re concerned about discolored teeth and wondering what the best treatment option is for you, we encourage you to consult with our dental professionals. Personalized advice and treatment plans are crucial for achieving the best results. At Palmetto Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we’re committed to helping you achieve a smile that you’re proud to show off.