Discoloured Teeth and Stained Teeth Treatments
Discoloured Teeth can cause a lot of embarrassment and can make people self-conscious about their smile. It is however important to remember that no one has naturally perfectly white teeth and it is normal for teeth to become a little discoloured and duller with age. As part of the regular aging process, the outer enamel of the teeth wears away with time, and the natural colour of the underlying dentin can show through, resulting in teeth appearing dull and discoloured. In addition, lifestyle factors also play a significant part in causing tooth discolouration. Some of the main factors are listed below.
Extrinsic tooth discolouration factors: The outer layer of the tooth enamel can become stained due to the consumption of certain consumable items. Substances that are known to cause tooth discoloration include –
- Drink such as tea, coffee, wine and cola.
- Food items such as certain vegetables and fruits (e.g. potatoes and apples).
- Chewing or smoking tobacco.
- Poor oral hygiene resulting in the accumulation of particles that causing staining in and around the teeth.
Intrinsic tooth discolouration factors: The internal structure of the tooth (called the dentin) can darken and develop a yellow coloured hue. Factors that can cause this include –
- Exposure to high levels of fluoride as a child can cause tooth discolouration later in life.
- 2.Chipped or cracked tooth can lead to tooth discoloration as a result of damage to the nerve or enamel.
- Certain antibiotic medicines such as doxycycline and tetracycline, some antihistamines and antipsychotics can cause tooth discolouration.
- Some diseases can also cause the enamel or dentin of the tooth to discolour. Certain treatment (like chemotherapy) are also known to cause tooth discoloration.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Teeth discolouration that’s caused by external factors such as staining on the tooth surfaces can be addressed using professional teeth whitening systems such as those from Philips Zoom and Enlighten. Professional teeth whitening systems whiten stained teeth by using safe-to-use bleaching agents that whitening the shade of the teeth. Whitening gels are applied to the teeth surface using custom made whitening trays which the patient will usually apply at home – either at night or even during the day. Excellent whitening results can be obtained in a few weeks. Philips Zoom also offers an instant teeth whitening system where the dentist applies a LED light to the bleaching agent on the teeth while the patient is at the surgery, instantly whitening the teeth in a little over an hour.
The dentist may suggest an internal teeth whitening option if the nature of the tooth discolouration is due to factors internal to the tooth (dead nerve for example). The dentist will apply a whitening agent to the inside of the tooth in order to whitening the tooth from within.
A tooth that has been extensively discoloured from within (due to a dead nerve for example) may need more extensive treatment that teeth whitening in some instances. In such a scenario, the dentist may advise use of a dental veneer to mask the discolouration. Dental veneers have two kinds – porcelain veneers and composite veneers. A porcelain veneer is a thin shell of tooth-coloured porcelain that is used to cover the front surface of your tooth. A compositeveneer on the other hand is made from a resin like composite material also used to cover the front surface of your tooth. Both types of veneers provide excellent results in improving the appearance of the teeth and are common used across the world for aesthetic dentistry purposes.
If a large portion of your tooth has cracked and become discoloured as a result, the dentist may advise a dental crown to fix the issue. The dentist will grind part of the remaining tooth and cover the tooth with a type of dental cap or dental crown. A crown is a tooth-shaped covering or cap, custom made for a specific tooth in order to protect the underlying tooth and improve its appearance. Crowns can be made from different types of materials – metal crowns, porcelain crowns, ceramic crowns etc. Porcelain dental crowns can look near identical to your natural tooth.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can tooth discoloration be prevented?
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent tooth discoloration. Brushing your teeth after each meal, flossing and brushing your teeth every morning and night are some good oral hygiene practices to follow to prevent tooth discolouration or staining. Our dentists recommend that you rinsing your mouth with water immediately after eating or drinking food items that can cause tooth staining or tooth discolouration. Some food items and drinks that can cause tooth straining or discolouration include coffee, tea, wine, cola, apples and potatoes. Visiting a hygienist once every six months for a professional teeth clean will also helping in removing external stains and maintain oral hygiene. All these factors go a long way to prevent tooth discolouration or staining.
How can tooth discoloration be treated?
Tooth discolouration can be caused by a number of different factors – both extrinsic and intrinsic. Maintaining good oral hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth is the very first step to address tooth discoloration. Avoiding certain food and drink items that can cause tooth discolouration and staining is the second step.
Tooth discoloration caused by extrinsic factors that have led to teeth straining can often be treated through professional teeth whitening systems such as Philips Zoom home and insurgery teeth whitening system and Enlighten teeth whitening system. Teeth whitening systems contain a safe-to-use bleach compound that is applied to the teeth using custom made whitening trays. They are typically used for a few weeks at home to provide good whitening results. Sometimes a LED light can be used by the dentist at the surgery to speed up the teeth whitening process. This method provides significantly whiter teeth in a little over an hour right at the dental surgery.
Tooth discolouration caused by factors internal to the tooth, such as a dead nerve can be addressed by use of Dental Veneers and Dental Crowns. A dental veneers is a thin tooth coloured covering or shell applied to the front surface of the tooth that helps to improve the appearance, shape and colour of the underlying tooth. A dental crowns is a tooth shaped cap that fits on top of a tooth, it is used to provide more extensive changes to the shape and size of a tooth.
Dr. Deepa, who is our principal dentist at Whites Dental, is an experienced cosmetic dentist with 15 years of experience in dentistry. She has performed very many teeth whitening procedures over the years. She will be more than happy to help with whitening any discoloured or strained teeth issues you may have.
Whites Dental provides discolored teeth and stained teeth treatments to patients around us in Central London. Our treatments include professional teeth whitening systems, dental veneers and dental crowns. We are based in London Waterloo, next to Southwark Tube station. We are a 5-10 minutes’ walk from Borough, London Bridge, Southbank & Elephant and Castle stations.