Ask The Dentist – Pitted Teeth

An Essex patient is unhappy with the appearance of her teeth and asks for our advice.

Today’s question comes from a potential new patient whose teeth have started to show signs of wear and tear as well as discolouration.

Q. Hi .. I’ve noticed, quite recently, that my teeth seem to look more discoloured than before. I don’t smoke but I do drink quite a lot of tea which may have something to do with it. Also,  I don’t know if it is related or not, but my teeth feel rough and pitted too, something which I hadn’t really noticed until the other day. I’d really like to have my teeth whitened but I’m not sure if this pitted effect means it is possible or not. Can you help?

Hello, and thank you for your question. I will answer this in three parts if I may as there are a couple of issues here which need to considered.

First of all, I will say that, yes, tea drinking may have contributed to the colour of your teeth, especially given what you have said about the surface (more of that in a minute). There is little point in moderating your tea drinking at the moment though; at least until such time that we have been able to examine your teeth at our Essex cosmetic dentists.

The second issue is the ‘pitted’ effect. I would need to examine your teeth to be sure, but a possible scenario is that this has been caused by enamel erosion. This weakens the enamel layer of the tooth, and, as well as potentially exaggerating the effects of staining, also increases the chance of teeth sensitivity as the dentin is exposed. Dental decay is also more likely to occur when this happens.

Finally, the discolouration may be more noticeable due to your tea consumption, but is equally likely to be a natural occurrence due to getting older. This is something that none of us can avoid, and, generally, we recommend teeth whitening for patients who are suffering in this way. In your situation, this may not be the best solution though depending on the extent of any erosion and staining, and we may need to evaluate other solutions including dental veneers.

Teeth veneers are useful where there is bad staining, but they also offer protection to the dentin layer of the tooth if enamel has thinned. The procedure would involve the removal of a fine layer from the front of your stained and pitted teeth, and an equivalent thickness of porcelain used to replace it. This would create both a protective layer and one that is whiter, whilst looking natural and aesthetically pleasing.

There may also be room to improve your oral health care, particularly as you noted that your teeth are “pitting”. If veneers prove to be a solution for you, they can last for around ten years but you also need to ensure that the natural part of your tooth remains healthy too. We can offer advice about your oral health regimen and will discuss this with you when you visit the Cygnet Dental Practice for your initial consultation. Here we can evaluate exactly what is happening with your teeth and provide the best solution for you.

To arrange this, please call us on 01268 733078.