Why Your Teeth are Discoloured & How You Can Get Them White Again

  • By Tonya Davis
  • 29 Jun, 2017
In general, the typical shade of healthy teeth is an off-white hue with slight undertones of brown, yellow or grey. However, many people find that their teeth are much darker than off-white. If you're one of these people, you may be wondering why your teeth aren't as bright as everyone else's and what you can do about it.

Browning and yellowing teeth have a variety of possible causes. One of the most well-known is aging, but what about discolouration that happens before you reach your senior years? If you're an adult with stained teeth, there are two broad categories of tooth discolouration you should look to: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Both can be remedied in different ways, but the right solution will depend on which of these discolouration types is affecting you.

What is Extrinsic Discolouration?

Extrinsic discolouration refers to staining on the outside of your teeth (your enamel) as a result of external means. The most common causes of extrinsic discolouration are smoking and eating certain foods.

Smoking stains teeth when the nicotine and tar in the tobacco permeate the tooth enamel, which is filled with microscopic openings. This leads to a yellow or brown colour that, while not dangerous, isn't the most attractive.

If you don't smoke, one of your favourite foods could be the cause of your discoloured tooth surface. Dark coloured drinks (like tea, coffee, wine and cola) along with curry, tomatoes and berries are some of the biggest culprits, seeping through your tooth surface just like nicotine and tar.

Extrinsic discolouration can also be a result of subpar dental hygiene, including failure to brush and floss regularly and efficiently.

What is Intrinsic Discolouration?

The opposite counterpart to extrinsic discolouration is intrinsic discolouration, which happens when the inside of your teeth (your dentin) darkens. This can have a variety of causes, most of which occur during childhood.

Some children are born with conditions that cause dentin discolouration, but many more end up with browning a yellowing from issues like tooth trauma, exposure to certain antibiotics (in utero or at a young age) or overexposure to fluoride during early childhood. Surprisingly, even trauma to your 'baby' teeth (known professionally as primary teeth) can cause discolouration to adult teeth that haven't erupted yet.

How Can You Tell Which One You Have?

If you've had discoloured teeth for most of your life, there's a good chance that your discolouration is intrinsic.

If your teeth got more yellow or brown as you aged or after taking up a habit like coffee-drinking or smoking, extrinsic discolouration is the likely culprit. Extrinsic discolouration can also start after oral trauma or a procedure that made it difficult to brush your teeth well, like getting braces.

If you're unsure about what's causing your discolouration, a dentist should be able to diagnose the root cause quickly with an examination.

How Can You Treat Them

Generally, extrinsic discolouration is easier to remedy than intrinsic.  One of the easiest ways to remove outer tooth stains is to change your lifestyle by removing the cause of the darkening. This may mean quitting smoking or reducing your coffee intake. Combined with good dental hygiene, this can be enough to brighten your teeth again.

If that doesn't work, you can visit a dentist for a whitening treatment to lift the stains. If you think your discolouration is caused by poor oral hygiene, your dentist will also be able to help you learn better brushing technique and treat any cavities that may be forming.

Intrinsic yellowing can't be removed with traditional whitening treatments or good hygiene, but there are still several ways to lighten your smile. If the discolouration was caused by trauma, a dentist may be able to tackle it endodontically. Some people have found improvement with root canal treatments and internal bleaching.

Alternatively, veneers are a great way to cover up the appearance of discoloured teeth. They also work for stubborn extrinsic staining that can't be removed fully with whitening treatments.

If your teeth are looking far from white, Dental Smile Frankston can help with a variety of treatments, from help with diagnosis to endodontic therapy, whitening procedures, and veneers.     Contact us   via phone, email or in person to book an appointment.
By Tonya Davis 06 Nov, 2017
Teeth whitening has come a long way over the last few thousand years. The ancient Egyptians whitened their teeth with ground pumice stone and wine vinegar 4,000 years ago. Later, the Romans decided that urine was their whitening agent of choice! It wasn't until the 1960s that peroxide, which is used to whiten teeth today, was used to whiten teeth.

Hydrogen and carbamide peroxide, the two main components of teeth whitening, can work wonders with stained teeth. What they cannot do, however, is whiten dental bridges or in fact any other type of dental restoration. Whitening agents simply cannot penetrate these materials in the same way they can natural teeth.

If your bridge needs to be whitened, you may be out of luck. However, if you get a bridge that is whiter than your natural teeth, you may be able to solve the problem by whitening your teeth to match. Learn more about your options below.
By Tonya Davis 27 Sep, 2017
Did you know that over 29% of adults are so scared of the dentist that they delay treatment and suffer from oral health problems? If you don't want your child to become part of the statistics, you need to give them the right messages about the dentist from the time they are young.

To ensure your little one doesn't develop a dental phobia, it's important to set a good example, portray dentist's visits as a positive thing and choose the right dentist. Read on for detailed advice on how to keep your child from getting scared at their next appointment.
By Tyler Vogelsberg 05 Sep, 2017
If you have recently noticed that your teeth are translucent to some degree, you may understandably be worried about what this indicates in regards to your oral health. Translucent teeth, however, are not always a sign that something is wrong. In fact, there are several reasons for this phenomenon, each of which will be explained below.
By Tyler Vogelsberg 01 Aug, 2017
When you think about losing teeth, you may picture a gap-toothed grin on a wide-eyed child who's talking about the tooth fairy. For children, tooth loss allows for the permanent teeth to erupt properly.

But many adults experience tooth loss as well. As an adult contemplating tooth extraction, you may feel nervous or even embarrassed, so it's
important to understand the causes of adult tooth loss, possible prevention and common  types of tooth replacement .

In this blog, we list four facts about tooth extraction that can help you feel more prepared for this procedure.
By Tonya Davis 29 Jun, 2017
In general, the typical shade of healthy teeth is an off-white hue with slight undertones of brown, yellow or grey. However, many people find that their teeth are much darker than off-white. If you're one of these people, you may be wondering why your teeth aren't as bright as everyone else's and what you can do about it.

Browning and yellowing teeth have a variety of possible causes. One of the most well-known is aging, but what about discolouration that happens before you reach your senior years? If you're an adult with stained teeth, there are two broad categories of tooth discolouration you should look to: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Both can be remedied in different ways, but the right solution will depend on which of these discolouration types is affecting you.
By Tonya Davis 28 Mar, 2017
By Tonya Davis 23 Jan, 2017
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