Smoking and Tooth Discoloration

By John Rink DDS on February 17, 2015

A woman smiling beside a sunflowerThe Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry offers some of the finest dental care treatments around, allowing patients to smile with confidence. One of the more popular treatments at our practice is teeth whitening, which bleaches tooth discoloration and dental stains, leaving your smile looking great.

One of the main reasons that patients seek out teeth whitening treatments is to address the effects of smoking on their smile. Tobacco products can do major damage to your dental health and appearance, so let's go over the basics right now.

Smoking and Dental Stains

Smoking is a major cause of tooth discoloration and dental stains. The smoke passing by the teeth leads to extrinsic discoloration (i.e., stains originating at the topmost enamel layer of the teeth). When this occurs, teeth tend to become yellow in color, particularly the front and most prominent teeth.

Tooth discoloration is one of the telltale signs of smoking. Even if you have not been smoking long, you may suffer from tooth discoloration simply from regular cigarette or cigar use.

Chewing Tobacco Can Also Cause Significant Staining

It should come as no surprise that smokeless tobacco can also result in major stains and discolorations of your teeth. The mix of chewing tobacco and saliva can also result in extrinsic stains over time.

How bad can it get?

The worst cases of staining as a result of tobacco use comes from years and years of smoking or use of smokeless tobacco. Yellowing or browning of the teeth can be quite pronounced. Sometimes smokers may be so self-conscious about their tooth discoloration that they feel uncomfortable speaking, smiling, or laughing around others. This doesn't just mean strangers, but even family members and friends that they've known for years.

Other Dental Problems Related to Smoking

Dental stains are usually the least of your worries when it comes to smoking, however. Smoking makes bad breath worse, makes gum disease more likely, and contributes to gum recession. In addition, long-term use of tobacco products increases the likelihood of developing oral cancer. It's estimated that three-quarters of people who develop oral cancer also use tobacco products.

For these reasons and other general wellness matters, it's a good idea to quit smoking or simply just not start in the first place.

Treatment Options for Smoking-Related Dental Stains

Professional teeth whitening treatment is a good option to address most extrinsic dental stains, including those that are the result of smoking and tobacco products. In some cases, the stains may be so severe and deep set that even multiple whitening sessions will not be enough. In those cases, the use of porcelain veneers or dental bonding may be considered to help mask the stain from view.

Get Help Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking is often easier said than done. That's why your doctor and many organizations out there can provide the help that you need. Our team and your general practitioner can provide tips and direct you to resources that will make kicking the habit a little easier. Rest assured that if you need help, we will be more than happy to provide it.

Learn More About Your Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment Options

To learn more about smoking and its links to tooth discoloration, gum disease, and other issues affecting your dental health and wellness, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. At the Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry, we will help you have the healthiest, most beautiful smile possible.

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33 Gamecock Ave
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