Stained or Discolored tooth


Your teeth can become discolored by stains on the surface or by changes in the tooth material. There are three main types of tooth discoloration:

Extrinsic discoloration:

This occurs when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained. Coffee, wine, cola or other drinks or foods can stain teeth. Smoking also causes extrinsic stains.

Intrinsic discoloration:

This is when the inner structure of the tooth (the dentin) darkens or gets a yellow tint.

Age-related discoloration:

This is a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Dentin naturally yellows over time. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which allows the dentin to show through. Foods and smoking also can stain teeth as people get older. Finally, chips or other injuries can discolor a tooth, especially when the pulp has been damaged.

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Stained or Discolored tooth caused by food and drink can be removed by regular professional cleanings and home care. Good home care includes brushing, flossing and rinsing after meals.

If your tooth has darkened after a root canal, bleaching the enamel won’t help. Our dentists can apply a bleaching material to the inside of the tooth, or you may consider a crown or veneer.

Bleaching will not lighten some stains, such as tetracycline stains. In this case, our dentists may recommend covering the discolored areas. This also may be useful when the tooth is chipped or badly damaged.

Discoloration often can be removed by applying a bleaching agent to the tooth enamel. One technique is called “power bleaching.” With this method, the dentist applies a light-activated bleaching gel. It causes the teeth to get significantly whiter in about 30 to 45 minutes. Several follow-up treatments may be needed, or take-home bleaching trays may be provided

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