Dr. Bruce Matthews, DDS

What Happened to my Beautiful White Teeth?

August 21, 2014
Posted By: Dr. Brian Matthews
Woman Covering Her Teeth | White Teeth Picking Up Stain

Has your smile lost its sparkle? Are you embarrassed by stained or discolored teeth? You take good care of your teeth and follow proper oral hygiene, so what’s going on?

Teeth can lose their bright appearance for a number of reasons. It’s not always possible to prevent this from happening, but professional teeth whitening can restore your smile to its beautiful, youthful appearance.

So Where do Those Stains Come From, Anyway?

There are basically two types of staining:

Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic stains sit on the surface of your teeth and are the result of habits you can control. These stains occur when you consume stain-producing foods and beverages like coffee, dark teas and cola, red wine, and even blueberries. Nicotine products not only damage your overall health, but habitual use will severely discolor teeth.

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic stains develop from the inside out and are an indication that the interior of your tooth has been damaged. These stains can be the result tetracycline use, trauma to the tooth, or excessive exposure to fluoride.

Dental decay and disease may start to develop on the surface enamel of your tooth, but will eventually erode the interior of the tooth. While intrinsic stains are more difficult to completely remove, it is possible to lighten them with a professional teeth whitening treatment at our Wilmington dental office.


Over time, it is natural for your teeth to darken and look dull and discolored. One of the causes is the gradual deterioration of your tooth enamel over the years.

Your teeth erode over time and develop tiny micro-holes that catch and hold onto stain-producing agents and food debris, causing your teeth to lose their luster. At the same time, the same process allows the yellowish dentin under the enamel to become more noticeable. This happens to everyone, and is really just a result of the aging process.

Since these are extrinsic stains, they can usually be removed effectively with a professional teeth whitening treatment.

Teeth Whitening and Other Cosmetic Alternatives

Professional teeth whitening can produce terrific results in a wide variety of cases. But it may not be the most effective solution for your situation.

At our Wilmington dental office, we offer a variety of other cosmetic treatments that may be more appropriate for you. We can use Lumineers, dental crowns, and bonding to correct the appearance of severely stained teeth. All of these will basically mask the staining, leaving you with a refreshed, bright smile.

If your smile is not living up to your expectations, please give us a call. We’ll be happy to arrange a complimentary consultation to discuss teeth whitening and other effective treatments for restoring your smile.



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