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Tooth discolouration can occur as a result of intrinsic and extrinsic staining. Some of the causes of discoloured teeth are within your control, and others aren’t. Let’s take a closer look at ‘what causes discoloured teeth’ and what you can do about it with the help of teeth whitening treatment.


Understanding How Different Types Of Stains Affect Tooth Colour

Tooth discolouration is subdivided into two different types of stains: intrinsic and extrinsic.


Intrinsic Stains

You will have intrinsic discolouration when the enamel and the dentin inside your teeth change colour. 

What causes it? Intrinsic stains often develop when there is damage to the tooth as it is developing. This can be caused by too much fluoride, an illness that is accompanied by a high fever, using antibiotics, or tetracycline. Physical trauma to the tooth, while it is developing, can also cause a tooth to become discoloured. 


Extrinsic Stains

You will develop extrinsic stains as a result of lifestyle factors that stain the outside of your teeth. 


What causes it? 

Extrinsic stains are the result of smoking tobacco, drinking dark beverages like red wine, caffeinated soft drinks and coffee.


What Causes Discoloured Teeth?



Foods And Drinks With Dark Pigments

It’s unreasonable to expect patients to eliminate the things they enjoy completely, so cutting back is a fairly acceptable compromise.


Tobacco Products

When you smoke cigarettes, the nicotine inside them turns yellow when it comes into contact with oxygen. Stains and discolouration are common in smokers. If you aren’t yet able to quit, try cutting back on your use of tobacco products.


Oral Hygiene

When you don’t brush and floss as you should, or visit your dentist for professional cleaning, plaque can build up on your teeth, and cracks and fractures can trap bacteria. This can contribute to a discoloured smile over time. 


Factors You Don’t Have Control Over



It is also common to experience a thickening of your dentine as you get older. Dentine also becomes yellower as we age.



Some people have thinner dental enamel than others, making their teeth more susceptible to staining. 



Some types of medicine list tooth discolouration as a side effect. Speak to your GP about alternatives if you find that your medication is affecting the colour of your teeth.


Treating Tooth Discolouration

teeth discolouration causes burwoodA lot of the time, small stains on the outside of your teeth can be removed when you visit your dentist for professional cleaning. However, when the stains are intrinsic, professional teeth whitening is usually the most effective way to address stains and discolouration.

You will need to have a dental examination before you can whiten your teeth safely. You should have your teeth professionally cleaned before whitening, for a more even result.


In-Office Teeth Whitening 

Your dentist will paint a layer of high strength whitening gel onto the surfaces of your teeth and then activate it with a blue light. You will sit with the teeth whitening solution on your teeth for a short period of time before it will be washed off and the process repeated. Depending on the extent of your discolouration, and your desired shade, you may return for another session or two. 

Your dentist will be in control of the whole procedure and will be able to give the teeth with more stains, more attention. If you want to whiten your teeth by a certain time, for a special event, we recommend you have in-office whitening as the results are noticeable much faster.


Teeth Whitening At Home

If you don’t have time for an in-office teeth whitening treatment, you may want to try a home whitening kit. We’ll give you custom-sized trays to use, and some whitening gel and you will use it as directed for a longer period of time than if you were in the chair. The bleaching gel in home DIY kits is not as strong as what your dentist can use at the practice, so it will take a little longer to see the results.

If you’re wondering how long your whitening smile will last, don’t forget about what causes discoloured teeth. By eliminating or cutting back on darkly pigmented food and drinks and tobacco, you’ll be able to keep your smile whiter for longer. Your dentist will discuss maintenance plans for the future with you so you can plan ahead. If you maintain your six-monthly visits and professional cleaning, your dentist will be able to check for discolouration during your appointments.


For a more personalised answer to ‘what causes discoloured teeth’, it’s best to speak to a professional. Please call us: (02) 8203 8760.






Tooth Discoloration

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