Tooth Discolouration

Tooth Discolouration and the Options

Causes of discolouration and the options

Discolouration can be caused by many things:

Aging– As we get older our enamel thins thus allowing the pigment of the dentine to show through more.
Tobacco – is one of the most common reasons for discoloured teeth, the tar released whilst smoking can build up causing heavy discolouration and staining.
Food and drink – Some food and drink contain staining agents such as tea, coffee, red wine, curry.  Consumed in high amounts can cause considerable discolouration.
Medication – Some medicines like Tetracycline have resulted in intrinsic staining (deep internal staining) which is very hard to remove and looks like grey banding across the teeth.
Fluorosis – This is due to excessive exposure to high levels of fluoride early in life, like over consumption of toothpaste or ingestion of too much fluoride in water.  Fluorosis affects the enamel, which means the white or brown spots sit permanently on the surface of the teeth.  They cannot be removed by brushing or polishing the teeth.

Options to change the appearance of discolouration


There are many dental procedures that can be used to change the appearance of teeth. Some are more intricate and costly than others.  We have listed these treatments starting with the least invasive and cost friendly treatments.


Many toothpastes contain baking soda, mild abrasives and high fluoride content.  All of these things help to restore the tooth’s natural whiteness, but they do not contain any peroxides that can reverse discolouration internally.


Peroxides as we know have been used extensively for changing the colour of teeth with out altering tooth structure.  This is a process of oxidisation and has proven less harmful than drinking a can of sugary fizzy drink.

McCracken MS,et al.Demineralisation effects of 10% CP. & cola on enamel.      J Dent Res 1993;72:215

Results are predictable and the treatments are very easy to use in the comfort of your own home.

Tooth whitening is one of the safest, least invasive and most cost effective way of enhancing the appearance of teeth.  It is the most requested dental procedure of patients between the ages of 20-60 years of age.  Most results will last a long time with good maintenance.  Top ups can be used without fear of damaging the tooth.

Composite restorations

Composite is a fantastic material that wears just like enamel.  It has all the light reflecting properties of a natural tooth and makes for high aesthetic restorations.  Mainly used as an alternative to amalgams, repair and build up of teeth, some composites are now strong enough to be used as veneers and have excellent results.

Ceramic restorations

Porcelain crowns, bridges and veneers are a highly popular way of altering tooth shape and colour.  Tooth whitening can be used prior to these treatments for the desired aesthetics.  This treatment offers predictable aesthetics but can be more expensive due to procedures and materials used, and is also destructive of tooth tissue.

Did you know?

5 biggest mistakes people make when whitening their teeth

  • People do not use whitening products that contain the correct amount of peroxide to whiten their teeth.

    At our practice we use the latest accredited whitening gels that use the legally safe amount of peroxide gel.

  • It is ILLEGAL for anyone apart from GDC registered dental professionals to sell or apply the correct peroxide whitening treatments.

    At our practice we are all fully trained and insured to make sure we deliver your treatment in a safe and trustworthy environment.

  • Poorly fitting trays not made at a dentist will result in UNPREDICTABLE RESULTS.

    We only use high quality dental laboratories to make our bespoke whitening trays. The better fitting the tray the more predictable the result.

  • An absence of a dental health check before treatment could result in damage to your teeth and gums.

    ONLY a qualified dentist can make sure you are not putting the health of your teeth at risk by ensuring your mouth is healthy before you start treatment.

  • People do not get existing fillings and crowns checked to make sure the colours would match after whitening.

    Professional advice BEFORE you start treatment is ESSENTIAL to make sure you are fully aware of how the end result may look and you can plan to have teeth with fillings or crowns treated afterwards accordingly