Tooth Discoloration and Its Management

Dr Akinsiku Oluwanimbe

15th Mar, 2016



Tooth discoloration refers to changes on the tooth surface or inside the tooth which result in a change from the normal colour to the abnormal. The teeth takes its colour from the dentine (inner layer of the teeth) which reflects off the enamel (outer layer).

The changes in or outside the tooth may be from several sources which include:

  • Medications: e.g., tetracycline taken by the mother during pregnancy.
  • Trauma:  from accidents e.g. fall, road traffic accidents.
  • Developmental anomalies: defect in teeth formation
  • Deficiency of fluorine.
  • Age
  • Certain food and drinks e.g. tea, coffee, tobacco, etc
  • Teeth deposits e.g. plaque and calculus.

All these have different methods of treatment.



Teeth bleaching or whitening is a dental procedure for lightening and removing stains and discoloration

Bleaching agents penetrate the enamel and get to the dentine where they break down stain deposits. While everyone wants their teeth to be clean and white, not everyone requires a bleaching procedure. Treatment is done based on the cause/source.

A professional dentist's advice is needed because of the following reasons:

  • Bleaching is contraindicated in certain conditions e.g., decay, infected gums.
  • Allergies and sensitivities of the patient must be considered.
  • Oral examination and investigation must be carried out on the soft tissues and x-rays taken in certain cases.

Bleaching can be done in the hospital by the dentist or by the use of other products given to the patient to be used at home. There are several risks associated with bleaching. This is why it must be done professionally.


Internal bleaching brightens the teeth from the inside out while external bleaching brightens the teeth from outside in.

People with teeth stains do not have to suffer in silence anymore. There is a treatment available for you. Please consult your dentist for appropriate treatment.

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