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Can Tooth Discoloration Be Genetic?

March 4, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ronan Freyne @ 12:42 am
a family smiling together

Studies have shown that one of the first things people notice about others is their smiles. But what exactly are they noticing? One of the main things that stands out is the tooth color. Unfortunately, if you have discoloration or staining, you might not feel very confident in showing your grin. You may even take exceptional care of your pearly whites, but they just never seem to brighten. One of the reasons for this may be that you inherited the color of your teeth! Read on to learn more about the connection between tooth discoloration and genetics, as well as what your dentist can do to help!

How Genetics Can Cause Tooth Discoloration

The most common reason for tooth discoloration and staining is due to lifestyle habits, like drinking dark-colored beverages and using tobacco products. However, some people can attribute their dimmer smile to genetics. For example, thicker enamel can run in families, as well as more transparent tooth enamel. The layer underneath the enamel, called dentin, is yellow. Therefore, the thinner your enamel is, the more yellow your teeth will look, even if you consistently clean and floss your teeth.

There are also two inherited conditions that can cause tooth staining or discoloration:

  • Dentinogenesis Imperfecta: This genetic condition can affect both baby and permanent teeth. It causes grayish, transparent tooth enamel and weak, brittle teeth, making them more susceptible to wearing down and getting broken.
  • Amelogenesis Imperfecta: This inherited condition is caused by genetic mutations, leading to abnormal enamel formation. Teeth will appear yellow-brown and have soft enamel. As a result, this condition increases the risk of tooth decay and chipped, cracked, or broken teeth.

How Your Cosmetic Dentist Can Help

Fortunately, even if your tooth discoloration is genetic, your dentist can offer cosmetic dental treatments to brighten your smile. These include:


Veneers can completely transform the color of your smile! Your dentist will attach ultra-thin shells of dental-grade porcelain to the front surfaces of teeth. If you have severe discoloration, veneers are an excellent choice.

Cosmetic Bonding

If you have more minor stains, dental bonding can whiten your teeth in just a one-hour visit to your dentist. A composite resin is perfectly sculpted over the discolored teeth and then hardened with a special dental light. Your teeth will then be polished and smoothed for a drastically improved smile!

Professional Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening uses safe professional-grade bleaching agents to make your teeth up to eight shades lighter. You can either opt for an hour visit to your dentist or you can get customized trays for at-home treatment.

Even if your genetics are the reason for your discolored teeth, you don’t have to live with them. With the help of your dentist, you can enjoy a radiant smile once again!

About the Author

Dr. Ronan Freyne keeps the smiles of Chevy Chase healthy and bright! He earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and is an active member of several dental associations. With a focus on personalized care, he offers a full range of services, including cosmetic procedures like professional teeth whitening. To schedule a consultation, contact him through his website or call (301) 986-0700.

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