Tooth discoloration can mean many things. In some cases, a dark spot could simply be the result of exposure to staining agents like dark foods and beverages or smoking. Although sometimes discoloration is purely a cosmetic issue, it can signify that a tooth is decayed or damaged.
If you notice tooth discoloration, we recommend scheduling a checkup with one of our skilled dentists to determine its underlying cause. If decay or damage is the reason for discoloration, we offer restorative dental services to correct the problem and protect the tooth. When a dark spot forms because of staining, we can also prescribe prescription-level teeth whitening to improve one’s appearance.
Dark Spots Caused By Permanent Stains
Teeth are porous and therefore, are susceptible to staining. When dark foods like berries or drinks like coffee and wine discolor teeth, these are called extrinsic tooth stains. This type of discoloration means that the stain has penetrated the enamel surface of teeth. To remove this type of discoloration, prescription level whitening is needed. Over the counter products like whitening toothpastes and strips can only address surface stains on teeth, which have not yet penetrated tooth enamel. If our dentist determines that the discoloration is only a cosmetic issue, receiving professional teeth whitening will correct the aesthetic issue and allow a patient to feel confident in his or her smile.
Discoloration Caused by Damage
Tooth decay discolors teeth because a cavity exposes dentin. Once a cavity begins to eat through a tooth’s structure, the internal structure of a tooth is more porous than enamel and thus susceptible to discoloration. Moreover, a decayed portion of a tooth will darken as its structure dies. Another reason for the development of a dark spot due to damage is the development of an intrinsic tooth stain. An intrinsic tooth stain is normally not just cosmetic in nature. In fact, it can signify that there is something wrong inside the tooth such as a deep fracture or infected root canal. In either case, cavities and internal damage can be improved with restorations such as fillings and crowns and/or endodontic therapy.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Dental Depot today.