Teeth become stained or discoloured generally because of one or more of the following:
- External: These stains are often superficial, and commonly caused by highly pigmented food, drinks or tobacco smokes. Treatments for external staining include air polishing, microabrasion techniques and whitening with peroxide. Avoiding heavy consumption of heavy staining food, drinks or smoking will also reduce the stain build up.
- Internal: This is when the inner part of the tooth, called dentine, has a darker shade. Dark dentine could come from leaky amalgam restorations, post root canal treatment, overexposure to fluoride, antibiotic use in infancy, trauma to teeth or rare genetic conditions such as dentinogenesis imperfecta. Treatments for internal staining of teeth are often a combination of bleaching and cosmetic coverage such as dental veneers and crowns.
- Age-related: This is a combination of the external and internal factors. As teeth age, the enamel thins out, allowing the yellow dentine to show through more easily. On top of this, years of food consumption, drinks and tobacco can add to the gradual discolouration of teeth.