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Dark, Discoloured and Stained Teeth

What is causes discoloured, stained teeth?

Stained and discoloured teeth are a common complaint and can hinder a person's self-confidence drastically. Tooth discolouration may be either extrinsic due to enamel, or intrinsic due to the inner structure of the tooth. Teeth become discoloured, yellow or turn dark for various reasons; however, the main causes for this phenomenon to occur include:

  • Teeth may turn yellow or discoloured if the enamel of the tooth is stained. This is usually done by food or drinks such as wine or coffee, or by smoking.
  • Teeth may also darken after root canal treatment, caused by the various toxins that exist during the infectious process.
  • Inadequate brushing and flossing habits mean that plaque is not removed properly, and stain-producing substances can cause tooth stains.
  • As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth wears away, revealing the dentin's natural, yellow colour. Over the years more stains and tartar, causing them to darken and discolour.
  • Some lucky individuals have naturally brighter and/or thicker enamel than others due to genetics.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation have been known to cause discolouration of the teeth.
  • Discolouration of the teeth can occur due to excessive exposure to fluoride or tetracycline antibiotics.
  • Teeth may also discolour if there is a problem with the pulp of the tooth (the innermost layer containing the nerves and blood vessels).

Dark, Discoloured and Stained Teeth

In this example below, we can see that the two upper front teeth are discoloured, creating an unaesthetic appearance for this individual.

darkened/discoloured teeth

stained teeth

What can be done?

Stained and discoloured teeth may be treated with teeth whitening or veneers. Which option is best suited for your, Dr Chodree will be able to advise during a consultation.

In some cases, internal bleaching may remove the discolouration, however, in many cases, a veneer or a crown will be required, depending on the amount of tooth structure remaining. In situations where the discolouration is caused by a problem in the pulp of the tooth, root canal therapy may be recommended by your dentist to treat the condition.

In other cases, teeth whitening can be considered. Dr Chodree offers two main methods of professional dental whitening, tray whitening and in-office whitening, where in-office teeth bleaching is the most efficient means of teeth whitening. Dental veneers offer a more permanent solution and can aid in making the appearance of crooked or blemished teeth better. Your dentist can give you more detailed information and help you decide which method is more suitable for you and your teeth.