Abnormal tooth color (darkening, bleaching): what is this, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention

Tooth – abnormal colors; Discolored teeth; Tooth discoloration; Tooth pigmentation; Tooth staining

Your teeth are usually white, but sometimes spots can appear on them, discoloration or even discoloration. It is called abnormal coloration of teeth and can range from slight discoloration to noticeable discoloration.

The most common abnormal tooth color is a yellowish tint.. This can be caused by various factors, such as food or drink, which can stain teeth, smoking or even aging. Poor oral hygiene, dietary habits or even genetics can also play a role in abnormal tooth coloration.

Causes of abnormal tooth coloration

There are many reasons, which can contribute to abnormal tooth discoloration. One of the most common is poor oral hygiene. Improper brushing and flossing can lead to plaque buildup, which gives the teeth a yellowish tint.

Tea, coffee and wine can also discolor teeth over time due to their acid content, that erodes tooth enamel. Smoking and other forms of tobacco use can also lead to staining and discoloration of teeth.

Age plays a role in tooth discoloration, since the enamel on the teeth is erased over time, allowing the dentin underneath to show through. Finally, certain genetic conditions can lead to, that the teeth will turn yellow or brown.

Additional factors, which can cause tooth discoloration:

  • Use of the antibiotic tetracycline under the age of 8 years
  • genetic defects, affecting tooth enamel, such as dentinogenesis and amelogenesis.
  • high temperature aged, when teeth are formed
  • Dental nerve injury
  • Porphyria (Group of diseases, caused by the accumulation of natural chemicals in the body)
  • Severe neonatal jaundice
  • Too much fluoride from environmental sources (naturally high levels of fluoride in the water) or ingestion of fluoride rinses, toothpaste and large amounts of fluoride supplements.

Symptoms of abnormal tooth coloration

The most obvious sign of abnormal tooth coloration is a yellowish or brown tint to the teeth.. You may also notice discoloration between the teeth or even darker spots on the teeth..

In some cases, discoloration may be slight, but in others it may be more pronounced. Besides, discoloration may appear in spots or spread over the entire surface of the tooth.

When to contact a healthcare professional

If you notice any changes in the color of your teeth, it is important to see a doctor. It can help determine the underlying cause and provide you with the best treatment options to restore your teeth to their original color..

It is also important to visit a healthcare professional, if you have any other symptoms, such as pain or tenderness, as they may be signs of an underlying breakdown or infection.

Questions, that your doctor may ask

When you visit a doctor for abnormal tooth discoloration, he may ask you some questions, to better understand your condition. They may ask, do you drink a lot of tea, coffee or wine. They may also ask, whether you smoke or use other types of tobacco.

Your doctor may want to know, do you have any other symptoms, such as pain or tooth sensitivity, and he may ask, have had any recent changes to your oral hygiene or diet.

Diagnosis of abnormal tooth coloration

Your doctor will first conduct a physical examination, to look for any signs of abnormal tooth coloration. It can also use special lighting, to determine tooth discoloration.

Also, the doctor can take an x-ray of the teeth or use a dental microscope., to get a better view of the teeth and check for signs of caries or infection. Can take a sample of your saliva, to check for bacteria, which may contribute to discoloration.

Treatment for abnormal tooth discoloration

The type of treatment recommended will depend on the underlying cause of the discoloration.. If the cause is poor oral hygiene, your doctor, probably, recommend more frequent brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist.

If the discoloration is caused by food and drink stains, your doctor may recommend professional teeth whitening. This includes using a special bleaching solution to lighten your teeth..

If tooth decay or infection is causing the discoloration, your doctor may recommend root canal treatment. This includes cleaning the infected area of ​​the tooth and restoring it with a filling or crown..

Home treatment for abnormal tooth discoloration

If you suspect, that you may develop abnormal tooth discoloration, there are several things, which you can make at home, To help.

At first, make sure, that you brush and floss at least twice a day and visit the dentist for check-ups every six months.

You should also avoid drinking or eating anything, what can stain teeth, eg, tea, coffee, red wine and sweet snacks and drinks. You should also try to quit smoking or using other forms of tobacco..

Prevention of abnormal tooth coloration

The best way to prevent the development of abnormal tooth coloration is to practice good oral hygiene.. This includes brushing and flossing at least twice a day and visiting the dentist every six months for a checkup..

You should also limit your intake of foods and drinks., which can stain teeth, such as tea, coffee, red wine and sweet snacks and drinks. Finally, you should avoid smoking or using other forms of tobacco.

Used sources and literature

Dhar V. Development and developmental anomalies of the teeth. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Bloom NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 333.

Neville BW, Damm DD, Allen CM, You AND. Abnormalities of teeth. In: Neville BW, Damm DD, Allen CM, You AND, eds. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. 4th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2016:chap 2.

Regezi JA, Sciubba JJ, Jordan RCK. Abnormalities of teeth. In: Regezi JA, Sciubba JJ, Jordan RCK, eds. Oral Pathology. 7th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 16.

Rotstein I, Silvestrin T. Bleaching discolored nonvital teeth. In: Torabinejad M, Fouad AF, Shabahang S, eds. Endodontics: Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021: chap 17.

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