If you’re puzzled by why your teeth constantly seem dull and a little stained, have you considered that you might’ve inherited them? Although there are many reasons for having discolored teeth, some of them are actually hereditary and not your fault at all! Here’s how your genes can influence the shade of your teeth, and how cosmetic dentistry can help you do something about it.
Can My Genes Influence My Tooth Color?
Doesn’t it seem like some people are just born with a bright smile? That’s absolutely the case; sometimes thicker, whiter enamel simply runs in the family, and there are many out there who’ve won the lottery and possess a naturally white smile. Conversely, others are genetically pre-disposed to teeth that darken over time. There are two inherited conditions that can cause this tooth discoloration:
Amelogenesis imperfecta is characterized by soft, fragile enamel that is a shade of yellowish-brown. This condition is caused by genetic mutations, and it greatly increases the risk of tooth decay while also making your teeth more vulnerable to fracturing.
Dentinogenesis imperfecta, which can affect both baby teeth and permanent ones, causes the enamel to appear grayish and transparent. It also makes the teeth brittle and susceptible to damage.
What Else Can Stain My Teeth?
Although genetics can influence your enamel, there are other things that can stain it, including:
- Coffee, tea, wine, or sugary beverages
- Smoking and chewing tobacco
- Poor oral hygiene
Your enamel is important to your teeth; this substance doesn’t just protect them, but also determines their shade of color. Be mindful of substances that are detrimental to its preservation; once your enamel is worn down and gone, it’s gone for good.
How Can I Treat My Stained Teeth?
People with yellow teeth that stem from hereditary reasons might not have much success with store-bought whiteners or toothpastes, but there are other options.
Professional whitening is the first and best choice for patients with genetically inherited discoloration. These results are incredibly impressive and visible within two weeks, and they’re long-lasting compared to anything you can buy at the store. Many dentists offer in-office or take-home whitening treatments; it’s mostly up to the patient’s needs.
For patients with tarnished and weakened teeth (especially those with genetically inherited conditions), restorative dentistry is also an option. Solutions including porcelain crowns, bridges, implants, and dentures can all be used to whiten your teeth while providing additional stability, making them a more permanent solution.
If you’re tired of having stained teeth and feel as though the cause is out of your control, your situation isn’t hopeless at all. Your dentist can help restore your smile’s whiteness, despite your genes’ futile efforts.
About the Author
Dr. Chris Devlin graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and his practice proudly serves families in the State College area. He is associated with the Dawson Academy, the Pankey Institute, and The Society of Dental Anesthesiology. If you or a loved one have any questions about tooth discoloration, Dr. Devlin would be happy to help. He can be reached through his website or by phone: (814) 238-3553.