There are multiple causes of discolouration in teeth. These can be subdivided into extrinsic (caused by an external agent) or intrinsic (caused by internal discolouration within the tooth).

Characteristics of Discoloured Teeth

Extrinsic discolouration can often be easily removed from teeth. It is caused by factors including smoking, tea, coffee, red wine, and certain mouthrinses. This kind of discolouration can easily be removed after a visit with our dental hygienists. At our West London practice, we not only have ultrasonics and up to date polishing systems to remove stains, but also the advanced prophyflex air abrasion system which is designed to gently and effortlessly remove any external stains.

Intrinsic staining can be caused either before or after the tooth comes through in the mouth. The antibiotic Tetracycline is commonly used, and was given to children to treat various bacterial infections in the 1970s and 80s. Unfortunately it causes grey banding on the teeth.There are other drug induced types of discolouration including dental fluorosis where too much fluoride can lead to white or brown spots on the teeth.

Some types of discolouration have genetic causes, leading to abnormalities in the calcified tissues of the tooth which in turn leads to discolouration. Examples of these are Amelogenesis and Dentinogenesis Imperfecta.

Some kinds of discolouration are caused as a result of a disturbance to the cells that produce the enamel at a critical period during its formation. Difficulty during labour, high fevers in childhood or continued ill health can lead to discolouration.

If a tooth has suffered physical trauma the blood supply within the tooth can be compromised leading to blood products leaking out into the calcified tissues and a grey discolouration. Sometimes the nerve within the tooth can respond by laying down more tooth structure as a protective mechanism leading to a yellow discoloration.

Other causes of discolouration can be because enamel has been lost around the teeth as a result of erosion (dietary acid) or abrasion (overbrushing). Decay or leaking fillings can also cause discolouration.

Treatment options

Due to the fact that there are so many causes of discoloration, it makes sense that there are various different treatment options to solve the specific discolouration.

The types of treatment that are commonly carried out at Ethicare Dental are: teeth whitening, hygienist treatment, prophyflex air abrasion, cosmetic bonding of white filling material, composite and porcelain veneers (such as lumineers), ceramic (Empress, Procera, Emax) and high quality bonded crowns.

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