Tooth discoloration is the change in color from the normal white enamel to the darkening or brownish discoloration. Persistent tooth discoloration can also occur as a result of the gradual thinning of the enamel layer of the tooth.
This thinning allows for more yellow -brown dentin formation underneath becoming visible. This is called amelogenesis imperfecta
What causes tooth discoloration?
Several factors play a role in this process. Exposure to some chemical s can also promote tooth discoloration in some individuals.
In amelogenesis imperfecta, the enamel is often absent and the exposed dentin has a yellowish-brown discoloration. This condition is an inherited disorder with defective tooth enamel formation caused by various gene mutations. The condition is treated with resin veneers and jacket crowns for anterior teeth, as well as steel crowns for posterior teeth
Tooth discoloration may be due to substances such as Fluoride. Excessive exposure to fluoride from drinking water, tooth pastes, supplements, and infant formulas results in fluorosis a condition of excess fluoride in the system. The excess fluoride interacts with mineralizing tissues, causing alterations in the mineralization process especially in the teeth. fluoride in the drinking water in excess of 1.5 parts per million causes coloration
- Color disturbance may also be due to secondary to inflammation
- Vitamin deficiencies can also cause color changes in teeth
- Trauma to the enamel leads to the exposure of denting that shows a yellow-brown coloration
- An isolated tooth with a grayish – blue hue may indicate the presence of a necrotic pulp, often due to prior trauma.
- A tooth that appears pink (pink tooth of Mummery) indicates an internal tooth resorption.
- Yellow to violet staining that fluoresces under ultraviolet light is normally due to exposure to tetracycline. It is advisable to avoid these drugs during pregnancy and up to 18 years of age as the teeth are growing and developing. Tetracycline also destroys the calcium deposits
- It has been shown that regular use of Mouthwashes that contain Chlorhexidine as their active ingredient increases the incidence of tooth discoloration.
- Tobacco smoking may lead to tooth discoloration.
- Excessive consumption of coffee may cause tooth discoloration.
How to treat tooth discoloration
Tooth discoloration is an uncomfortable situation in many individuals. The causes can easily be treated and re-coloration established.
The following are some of the substances that can help treat the tooth discoloration
- Use of toothpastes that contain substance such as soluble pyrophosphates as active ingredients may help to minimize the discoloration caused by chlorhexidine-containing Mouthwashes.
- When applied to the teeth topically, or used as chewing gum, sodium bicarbonate help to reverse the discoloration by whitening the teeth. The substance also helps to remove stains from the teeth
- Substances such as casein phosphopeptide when used topically to the teeth may remove the tooth discoloration by whitening them.
- The commonest used bleaching agents for tooth discoloration include carbamide Peroxide (10% – 44%). This is an active ingredient in many bleaching agents and has shown success. It has to be used by a dentist for treatment
- Hydrogen Peroxide (1% – 10%) is also an active ingredient in many other tooth bleaching gels used. Some of the gels can be purchased as over the counter drugs. Cautions; never buy the undiluted peroxide as it is very corrosive to the skin and mucous membranes.
- Titanium Dioxide has for some time been used in tooth whiteners as a whitening pigment to polish the teeth.
Consult your dentist in management of this condition.