Tooth discolouration can be a result of either extrinsic (surface stain) or intrinsic (internal stain) factors. As a general rule our teeth become darker as we become older – it is part of the normal ageing process. Many people would prefer their teeth to be whiter and so look at various whitening and bleaching options.
Teeth may become discoloured while they are forming (during childhood), as a result of an illness or, the use of tetracycline antibiotics. Teeth may also become discoloured when the pulp (nerve and blood vessels) inside the root canal dies or is damaged as a result of tooth decay or trauma. Teeth also darken naturally with age as a result of progressive hardening within the tooth or because of erosion and thinning of the enamel.
Well-known causes of tooth stains are tobacco (tar), strong tea, coffee, red wine and Melanoidins (large discolouring molecules from cooked vegetable oils). Medicines containing iron and heavily coloured foodstuffs can also be a contributing influence. Deposits of tartar (calculus) that form around the necks of the teeth will also pick up unsightly stains that are extremely difficult to remove.
Teeth which have had their nerve removed (dead or non-vital) will always be darker than their live (vital) counterparts. Upper front teeth (incisors) that have taken a heavy knock (trauma) will frequently become discoloured if the blood vessels have been ruptured at the end of the root (apex). If a haemorrhage (bleed) has taken place within the tooth itself (pulp chamber) the usual bruising and healing processes of the soft tissues cannot occur. The blood products break down in the tooth and cannot be taken away by a fresh blood supply. As a result, the tooth can become seriously discoloured.
Bleaching is the use of chemical agents to produce an oxidation of the discolouring molecules within the tooth. It is not a temporary process. A dentist using chemical agents can also remove superficial stains such as tobacco, tea and coffee.
- B-105, Tirth jyoti plaza, opp RTO gate, near subhash bridge circle, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380027
- +91 96864 58860