Different Types of Tooth Discolouration (and How to Correct Them)

26 June 2020
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

Should you consult your dentist before whitening your teeth? It's not mandatory, but it can be a smart idea, even if you were intending to use a home whitening kit. So why see your dentist? There are different types of tooth discolouration, and while you'll want to correct this discolouration, simple whitening might not be effective. Even when your teeth are suitable for whitening, a visit to the dentist before you begin is going to make the process far more efficient.

What Is Extrinsic Tooth Discolouration?

Teeth whitening affects extrinsic tooth discolouration, which is when the surface enamel of each tooth has become stained. This is due to external sources and is primarily linked to various substances that you have consumed over the years, such as tea, coffee, red wine, some fruit juices and even tobacco. Although whitening will generally reduce this type of discolouration, you should have your teeth professionally scaled before you begin. This is one of the most straightforward treatments in general dentistry. 

How Is Extrinsic Tooth Discolouration Corrected?

Your dentist will use a sonic or microsonic scaler on your teeth, and this will remove accumulated dental plaque and calculus, thus increasing the effectiveness of the subsequent whitening treatment and ensuring that you are only whitening the enamel rather than substances that have built up on the enamel.

What Is Intrinsic Tooth Discolouration?

There's also a type of tooth discolouration that will not always noticeably respond to external whitening. When your teeth have intrinsic discolouration, it means that something is amiss inside the respective teeth. You might have been exposed to tetracycline antibiotics when you were a child (or when you were inside your mother's womb). Intrinsic tooth discolouration is a common side effect of these types of antibiotics. It could also be that a tooth (or teeth) in your mouth has succumbed to trauma or periodontal disease. Pulp necrosis is when the nerve inside the tooth has died, and it can be that a tooth is discoloured because it is essentially dead. 

How Is Intrinsic Tooth Discolouration Corrected?

Although some forms of professional power bleaching (as performed by your dentist) can help with intrinsic discoloration, the application of a synthetic cover (such as a veneer, a crown or dental bonding) might be the best means to conceal the discoloured tooth. A root canal can also be necessary in the event of pulp necrosis. 

There are different types of tooth discolouration, and this is why you might want to see your family dentist before attempting to whiten your teeth.