Why Do I Have Stained Teeth?

Do you have a damaged and discolored tooth? Are single, stained teeth impacting the look of your smile? Do you often wonder why you have discolored teeth? Tooth discoloration and staining have many common causes, from certain types of foods to tobacco use. Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry service that we offer in Long Grove, IL, to help patients brighten their smiles and eliminate tooth stains. While whitening addresses extrinsic stains, dental veneers and tooth bonding can treat intrinsic stains within the tooth. Learn more about common causes of tooth stains and how we treat discoloration in-office.

Cosmetic dentist in Long Grove, IL

Reasons for Cosmetic Teeth Whitening in Long Grove, IL

There are many causes of yellowed, darkened, discolored, and stained teeth. Some of the most common causes of tooth discoloration can include:

Foods and Drinks

Some foods and drinks contain chromogens, dyes that can stain teeth. Common foods and drinks high in chromogens include wine, coffee, sodas, berries, and tomato-based sauces.

Tobacco Use

Smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and using vapes can stain the natural tooth enamel. Tobacco products contain nicotine, a substance that can easily yellow the tooth enamel. When exposed to oxygen, nicotine turns yellow or brown, which is why teeth can turn that color after using tobacco products.

Tooth Damage

If you have chipped, cracked, or received a hit to a tooth, you may experience tooth discoloration. Dental injuries can create discoloration when injuries impact the dental pulp, made of cells, blood vessels, and nerves that keep the tooth alive.


People can inherit different enamel thicknesses, which can impact the likelihood of their teeth staining. Thicker tooth enamel is often whiter than thinner enamel. Thinner enamel can show discoloration, and some teeth are more prone to staining or yellowing.

Medications and Health Conditions

Some types of medications can have tooth discoloration as a side effect. High blood pressure medications, common antibiotics, antipsychotics, and antihistamines can all discolor teeth. Calcium deficiencies, celiac disease, liver disease, and other health conditions can also lead to tooth discoloration.


As we age, we can experience differences in the thickness of our enamel and encounter discoloration because of tooth wear. As the outer tooth enamel wears away, it exposes the dentin, a darker layer underneath.

Fix Tooth Discoloration

Professional teeth whitening can lift stains from the tooth enamel. Whitening gels contain active ingredients like hydrogen peroxide that bleach teeth and remove stains and discoloration. If patients have intrinsic stains or stains within their teeth, we will recommend dental bonding or porcelain veneers.

Bonding treatment covers chips, cracks, and other signs of damage or discoloration with malleable, tooth-colored materials. Veneers cover the front of teeth with porcelain shells that improve the shape and shade of teeth. Bonding treatment is often best for single teeth, and dental veneers can cover all of the teeth in the smile line.

Are you unsure why you have discolored teeth but want teeth whitening treatment? Contact our office. If you want a brighter smile, call Dr. Brent Engelberg at (847) 230-9703 or schedule a tooth whitening consultation online.