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.
There are various methods now in use for bleaching teeth.
The home based Bleaching Kits
This is a do-it-yourself method that you can use at home. The kit contains diluted dentist approved hydrogen peroxide (1% – 10%). Other kits may have carbamide Peroxide (at 10% – 20%) gel. The gel is applied topically to the teeth and left for some minutes. The gel is a good whitener for teeth that acts by breaking the stains. It also enters the enamel and dentin of the Teeth where it bleaches the stained substances.
Steps in bleaching the teeth include:
- Step one; Rinse the teeth with a mouth wash containing citric Acid. The acid helps to remove the pellicle, an enzyme layer that dental plaque clings to.
- After cleansing the teeth, use a cotton swab and dip in the hydrogen peroxide solution provided. Remember, it has to be in a concentration of 10% to 20%. You may also use the carbamide peroxide gel.
- The kit comes with the whitening substance such as titanium dioxide paste. After the gel application, allow a few minutes then apply the paste and polish to the surface clearly.
- Allow a few minute then rinse your mouth with distilled water
Please note that due to the lesser contact time of your teeth with the bleaching agents, the treatment results may not be displayed immediately. You may have to repeat this again till you get the result. If you are not comfortable with the kit, you may consult your dentist.
Dentist Supervised bleaching
This is a three step procedure that involves:
- Cleaning of the Teeth by the dentist to remove superficial stains. He may use the dental equipment to do this unlike what you use at home.
- Application of the gel to the teeth to allow bleaching and removal of the plaque. The carbamide Peroxide concentration used is about 35% – 44%. references
- The dentist will then provide a dental tray that is to be worn for approximately one hour everyday. This can be done at night while sleeping or during the day, which ever is comfortable to use. Note that the tray does not interfere with your speech.
Studies show that the dentist supervised bleaching is effective in about 90% of patients.