Dental discolouration can be alarming and make you a bit self-conscious. Whether you’re 24 or you’re 64, your teeth can become discoloured through a number of ways, including the following:
Extrinsic – This is a type of discolouration that stains the outer layer of your tooth’s enamel with something as simple as food, wine, soda, coffee, and more. If you’re a smoker, you may also see extrinsic staining on your teeth.
Intrinsic – Intrinsic is a form of discolouration that works on the inside, causing the structure of the tooth to become darker. In having this, the outer layer of your teeth looks like it has a yellow tint. So, what may cause this? A type of tetracycline medicine during pregnancy, exposure to fluoride when you’re extremely young, and tetracycline medicine in general – when used after 8 years of age.
Age-related – Now, sometimes as we get older, we see a bit of discolouration in our teeth after years of the enamel wearing away, as well as a combination of the aforementioned discolouration categories. Dentin naturally changes colour over time and not just with pro-longed exposure to food or drinks. If your tooth’s pulp has been damaged, you may see discolouration in that specific tooth versus all of your teeth.
Some kids are born with a congenital issue called dentinogensis imperfecta, which is when they are born with a natural discolouration in their teeth but it isn’t the yellow kind – they’re teeth are typically purple, gray, or have amber discolouration.
Symptoms of Discoloured Teeth
If you have a yellow tint within your dentin, as well as stains on the enamel of your teeth, you suffer from discolouration.
There are no required tests in order to diagnose this, and a dentist can take one look at you to determine discolouration.
While some discolouration can be removed by having a professional cleaning, a lot of stains are permanent, but can be combatted with a form of whitening gel.
This may sound a bit redundant, as you probably hear this from the dentist all the time, but you’ll want to make sure you brush your teeth after every meal. When you drink acidic beverages, make sure to wait a half hour after brushing so that you don’t hurt the softened enamel. You may also want to schedule regular cleanings with your dentist to help combat discolouration.
If you suffer from intrinsic stains when the tooth is damaged via a blood vessel or nerve, you may want to consider a root canal to prevent discolouring any further. The material (an organic composition) is susceptible to darkening when the nerve is damaged, despite not having any major pain.
To prevent this in children, you’ll also want to make sure their drinking water doesn’t have high amounts of fluoride.
A bleaching gel or agent can be applied to the affected teeth by a professional in order to treat the discolouration. There is something that facilities use called, “power bleaching”, which is a form of light-activated whitening. This can take as little as 30 minutes to lighten up those darkened teeth. While there are at home treatments, some are so high in concentration that it can harm you and cause pain.
Had a root canal? A dentist may bleach the inside of the tooth to help darken up those areas we’ve discussed.
When to Call a Dentist
While mainly a cosmetic dental problem, if you’re feeling insecure or self-conscious because of discolouration, contact Smiles Dentistry at 416-588-8004 to receive a personalized consultation.