Woman Smiling with her Teeth Out

Your pearly whites can become stained in two ways. The teeth can get discolored by stains on their surfaces (extrinsic discoloration) or by changes inside them (intrinsic discoloration). While less common, intrinsic discoloration can be more serious and difficult to cure. Here are four things you should know about intrinsic tooth discoloration.

Intrinsic stains involve the inner structure of teeth (the dentin). This type of discoloration occurs when the dentin darkens or develops a yellow tint.

5 Common Causes of Intrinsic Discoloration

Many things can lead to the staining of your dentin. The leading causes of intrinsic discoloration include:

  • Too much exposure to fluoride – excessive fluoride during early childhood can cause teeth discoloration. The fluoride can be from naturally high fluoride levels in drinking water or excessive use of fluoridated products.
  • Medications – your teeth could be discolored because you were given certain antibiotics while your teeth were still developing. Medications known to stain teeth in children under the age of 8 include tetracycline and doxycycline.
  • Trauma and bleeding – trauma in an adult tooth, for instance from a fall, can cause discoloration. Internal bleeding can also discolor your tooth.
  • Tooth development disorders – some people are born with a disorder known as dentinogenesis imperfecta. This rare condition causes gray, purple or amber discolorations.
  • Advancing age – dentin naturally yellows as we age. The outer layer of tooth enamel gets thinner, revealing the natural color of the internal structure of the tooth.

Avoid Bleaching

Some tooth discoloration responds well to professional cleaning and whitening. But bleaching doesn’t lighten tetracycline stains and some other kinds of intrinsic discoloration.

Why Choose Veneers

Your dentist may recommend covering the outer surfaces of your stained teeth with thin, custom-made ceramic shells called veneers. You can also be a good candidate for porcelain veneers in Lone Tree, Colorado if you have a chipped, misshapen, or severely damaged tooth.

Tooth discoloration can affect either the tooth enamel or dentin. If the inner structure of your tooth is discolored, bleaching may not help you restore your smile. Talk to a dentist about a suitable treatment for the intrinsic stains.