Tooth discolouration is where the natural white, bright look of our teeth starts to fade. There are many different causes for tooth discolouration and three different types, depending on how the discolouration is developing. To better help you determine the cause for your discoloured teeth, our Thunder Bay Dentist Clinic is pleased to present the following details about tooth discolouration.
The first type of tooth discolouration is called “Extrinsic.” Extrinsic means exterior or outer and refers to staining on the tooth’s enamel, which is the exterior layer of the tooth. Staining on the outside of the tooth can be caused from using tobacco products, drinking wine, coffee, tea, or cola’s, and eating certain types of stain-causing foods.
The next type of tooth discolouration is called “Intrinsic.” As you might have already guessed, intrinsic means the interior or inside of the tooth. The specific structure which can start to discolour is called the dentin. This interior layer can start to turn yellow or even become dark. There are a variety of underlying causes for intrinsic discolouration including:
- The tooth experienced trauma while it was still developing, like falling.
- You received an excessive amount of fluoride during childhood.
- You have dentinogenesis imperfecta, which is a very rare dental condition some people are born with and causes discolouration in the dentin, which ranges from grayish to purplish discolourations.
- You were prescribed the antibiotic tetracycline and took this medication as a child.
- Tetracycline was prescribed and taken by your mother, while she was pregnant.
- Trauma to a fully developed permanent tooth resulted in internal bleeding inside the tooth, which can cause dentin discolouration.
The third, and last type of tooth discoloration is due to aging. As we get older, we will experience natural discoloration to both the extrinsic and intrinsic layers of the teeth. Furthermore, external staining becomes more common, especially in our senior years because the tooth’s protective enamel surface is much thinner, so stains occur more frequently. In addition, the dentin layer also starts to yellow as we age and could start to become more noticeable in our senior years.
Procedures and Treatments to Address Discoloured Teeth.
One of the best ways to remove most types of extrinsic staining is by maintaining regular bi-annual visits to our dental clinic and having your teeth cleaned. For more serious external staining, you may also want to consider using our professional teeth whitening procedures.
With intrinsic staining, there are several viable options available to address this cosmetic issue. Some patients may have veneers installed over the exterior of the tooth’s surface to cover up the discolouration. Another option, which sometimes works is a root canal to remove the discoloured dentin.
If you are concerned about the colour of your teeth, schedule a consultation appointment at Oasis Family Dental to discuss what options are available to you today by phoning (807) 623-2662!