Healthy Asians & Pacific Islanders Medical Center Logo

Help! My Teeth Are Yellow

Mar 01, 2024
Don't settle for yellowed teeth and a lackluster smile. Uncover the reasons behind dental discoloration, and learn how to rejuvenate your radiant smile with personalized cosmetic dental solutions.

More than half of Americans feel self-conscious flashing their smile. The last thing they want the world to see is yellow, stained tooth enamel. If you’re among this population, we can help.

As family dentists specializing in cosmetic and general dentistry, our team at Tropical Dental Care in Tomball, Texas, offers comprehensive solutions that can whiten dull and yellowed teeth. 

Read on to learn more about why teeth discolor and what you can do about it. 

Why and how teeth discolor

Your teeth discolor because of three major reasons. Each requires a different whitening approach. With a quick oral exam, we can determine if your yellow teeth are a product of: 


When stain molecules accumulate in the microscopic surface channels of your enamel, you end up with extrinsic discoloration. It tends to make teeth look yellow or brown. Another external factor that can make your teeth yellow? Plaque buildup.

While most enamel-staining residue is left by dark drinks and foods like red wine, coffee, and blueberries, the tar and nicotine chemicals in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco can also cause surface staining. 

Another external factor that can make your teeth yellow is plaque buildup, which can be a result of poor hygiene or haphazard attention to professional cleanings.

Internal discoloration

Intrinsic discoloration develops when something causes the dentin to darken. Your dentin is the inner tooth structure below your enamel. But your teeth won’t really look yellow. This type of discoloration tends to make your teeth appear grayer than normal.

Certain prescription drugs, like antihistamines and blood pressure medications, can temporarily darken your tooth dentin. 

Dental trauma that kills a tooth’s nerve root can also cause permanent intrinsic discoloration in the affected tooth. Examples of such trauma include any blows to the face or notable bumps to the jaw from a fall.

Thinning enamel 

As you age, your teeth undergo natural changes that affect their intrinsic and extrinsic aspects. White surface enamel becomes thinner as the darker underlying dentin layer becomes thicker, often making teeth appear less white — and more yellow — over the years. 

Determining the cause of your yellow teeth

In most cases of yellowed or browned teeth, the cause comes from extrinsic factors that are typically pretty easy to address. 

Usually, yellow teeth are a product of one or more of the following factors:

  • Habitual consumption or use of staining agents, like coffee, black tea, or tobacco
  • Age-related dental changes (enamel thinning/dentin thickening) 
  • Insufficient daily oral hygiene habits and skipped dental cleanings 

Stains can build up quickly when you don’t brush and floss as thoroughly as you should. Insufficient oral hygiene habits also promote the buildup of plaque, a thin, sticky coat of enamel-damaging bacteria that’s initially invisible. 

But when you skip your twice-yearly dental cleaning and exam, plaque builds up and takes on a yellow hue. It also traps more stain-causing residues (not to mention cavity-causing bacteria). 

The effects of surface staining becomes that much more noticeable as you get older, too, making your smile yellow as a result.

Getting a whiter smile

Schedule an appointment at Tropical Dental Care and uncover all the contributing causes of your yellowed teeth. We gather the information we need to take a comprehensive treatment approach. Your plan may include:  

Professional cleanings

If it’s been more than six months since your last professional dental cleaning, having one of our skilled hygienists clear away stubborn dental plaque, remove calcified tartar, and polish your teeth can go a long way in brightening your smile. 

In-office teeth whitening 

If deep-set stains cast a yellow hue on your teeth, an in-office teeth whitening treatment can restore your pearly whites.  

We offer an advanced, clinical-strength peroxide gel that effectively lifts stains without causing excessive tooth sensitivity. In just one visit, this treatment can wipe away years of yellowing residues and leave you with a bright, luminous smile that's several shades whiter.  

Crowns, bonding, and veneers

Bonding, crowns, and veneers are effective solutions for whitening teeth and enhancing smiles, especially those affected by intrinsic staining. Bonding involves applying a tooth-colored resin to cover stains or fill gaps, resulting in a brighter appearance. 

Crowns, which are like a cap for a tooth, may be made of porcelain or ceramic materials matched to the desired shade, effectively concealing discoloration. 

Veneers, thin shells bonded to the front surface of teeth, are custom-made to improve color, shape, and size, providing a flawless, white smile. 

Adjusting your diet

A few dietary adjustments can reduce the rate at which your teeth yellow and help keep a newly brightened smile white. For example, cutting down on tea, coffee, and red wine can help reduce staining — as can rinsing your mouth with water after drinking these beverages. 

If your enamel appears to be thinning, using a fluoridated mouthwash and limiting contact with acidic foods and beverages can help strengthen and preserve your remaining enamel.  

A dingy, yellow smile can make you feel self-conscious. Don’t just hide it. Get a whiter, brighter smile with treatments that we offer here at Tropical Dental Care. Call today or use this website to schedule a consultation.