Expert views on health issues that matter

Discoloured teeth - Causes & treatment

SumiDr. Sumedha Nandhakumar

Teeth cleaning


Yes....There is a solution .

Tooth whitening.

Teeth whitening involves Bleaching your teeth to make them whiter or a lighter shade. Teeth whitening is a form of dentistry and should only be performed by Dentist or Dental hygienist .

Why did my Teeth colour change ?

The reasons:
Over period of time your teeth can go from white to not so bright for a number of reasons.
Food & Drink - Coffee , tea, red wine are some major staining culprits .
Tobacco use - Two chemicals found in Tobacco , Tar & Nicotine cause stains on the teeth.
Age - over time the outer Enamel layer gets thinner with brushing .
Trauma - If you have been hit in the mouth, your tooth may change colour because of injury to the pulp.
Medications - Tooth discolouration can be side effects of certain antihistamines, antipsychotics & high blood pressure medication. Children who are exposed to antibiotics like Tetracycline and Doxycycline, when their teeth are forming will have discolouration of their adult teeth later in life. Chemotherapy, head & neck radiation can also darken teeth .

The process of whitening:
What does tooth whitening involve ?
Professional bleaching is the most usual method of tooth whitening . The active ingredient in the product is usually Hydrogen peroxide or Carbamide peroxide . As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets in to the enamel on the teeth & tooth colour is made lighter .

How long does this take ?
The total treatment (office bleaching ) usually be done in 30 minutes to 1 hour.

How much does tooth whitening cost ?
Charges will vary from practice to practice & region to region . Laser or power bleaching will be more expensive than the professional bleaching .

How long will my teeth stay whiter ?
The effects of whitening are thought to last up to 2 to 3 years, provided one maintains it. The effect is less likely to last as long if you smoke ,or eat or drink products that can stain your teeth.

What are the side effects ?
Some people may find that their teeth become more sensitive to cold, during or after the treatment . Others may have discomfort in the gums or sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and would disappear within few days under normal circumstances.

Tips to prevent tooth discolouration after teeth whitening:

There are few steps you can take to maintain your whiter smile .
1) Avoid stain causing food & beverages like coffee ,tea,wine ,soft drinks , hard candy , berries  and tomato sauce are all foods that can cause tooth discolouration .
2) use a straw when drinking beverages, to keep stain causing dyes away from your teeth.
3) Quit smoking - smoking tobacco can cause teeth to become discoloured along with a host of other serious health conditions

Keep smiling !!

Dr Sumedha Nandakumar

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