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Stained Teeth: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

26 / 07 / 2023

A bright, healthy smile can demonstrate confidence and make those around you warm to you. But if your teeth are lacklustre, yellow, or even stained, you might not feel so good about sharing your smile. 

If your smile has lost its sparkle, you’re not alone. Many people experience discolouration and staining, and there are several potential causes. 

While brushing your teeth alone won’t bring them back to being perfectly white, there are other ways. 

In this guide, we’ll look at the causes of stained and discoloured teeth. We’ll also discuss how we can treat them and equip you with the know-how to ensure your smile stays bright. 

What Causes Discoloured or Stained Teeth?

There are several potential causes for stains and discolouration, some are preventable, others are unavoidable. 

Stains affecting the outer layer of your teeth are called extrinsic stains. This type of stain is often caused by diet. Common culprits for causing these stains include dark berries, coffee, tea, red wine, spicy food, and cola. Smoking can also leave extrinsic stains. 

When the stains penetrate the tooth, they can affect the dentin. This is the layer below the dental enamel. Potential causes for intrinsic stains include dental trauma, infection, and certain medications. Stains from smoking can become intrinsic. 

As we age, our dental enamel thins. This causes the darker-coloured dentin below the surface to show through, giving your once-white teeth a yellow appearance.

Other potential causes for discolouration include genetics and certain cancer treatments. 

Can You Tell the Cause of Stained Teeth By the Colour?

Discoloured teeth could turn yellow, brown, purple, or grey. You may also develop white or black spots on your teeth. 

Yellow teeth occur through ageing, diet, and poor oral hygiene. Smoking can turn your teeth brown; however, some brown marks may be tooth decay.  If your teeth are a shade of purple, you likely enjoy red wine. 

Grey teeth indicate that your nerve endings have died. This typically occurs as a result of dental infection or trauma. White spots are fluorosis, which is usually from consuming high levels of fluoride as a child. Black spots are caused by severe decay. 

How Are Stained and Discoloured Teeth Treated?

There are several ways that we can treat stained and discoloured teeth, including whitening treatments, composite bonding, and dental veneers. 

Teeth Whitening

A professional teeth whitening treatment can remove extrinsic and intrinsic stains. This safe, dentist-led treatment uses powerful whitening gels to lift stains and bring your teeth to a natural and healthy shade of white. 

You can undergo the treatments we provide in stages from the comfort of your home. We’ll provide you with custom whitening trays that apply the gel directly to your teeth. Using the trays and gel for around two weeks will improve the appearance of your smile. 

Composite Bonding

Sometimes called cosmetic bonding, this treatment uses tooth-coloured resin to fix several dental defects simultaneously. We can use this resin to cover any stains and discolouration. 

We begin by applying the resin to your teeth and blending it in until it looks natural. Next, we use a special light to harden the resin, leaving you with a restored tooth. Composite bonding is quick and painless. 

Dental Veneers

We can also use dental veneers to cover stained and discoloured teeth. Veneers are fine, life-like porcelain shells that coat the fronts and sides of your teeth. Once in place, they give your smile a bright, healthy appearance. 

How Can You Prevent Stained Teeth?

There are several ways to prevent staining and discolouration. Cutting out all food and drinks that cause stains isn’t always an option; however, you can limit the amount of them you consume and brush your teeth immediately after meals. 

Improve your oral hygiene by using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice daily, floss, and use mouthwash. 

Drinking plenty of water can help reduce staining. If you’re a smoker, talk to us or your GP about ways to quit, and visit our clinic regularly for a checkup and hygiene visit. 

Preventing and Treating Stained Teeth at GM Dental

At GM Dental, we have various ways to address stained and discoloured teeth. Call us today to schedule your next appointment, and let’s bring the sparkle back to your smile together. 

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