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What Causes Teeth to Discolour?

Hi, Dr James here, and I’m one of the Principal Dentists at Elevate Dental here in Melbourne.

Yesterday, I met a new patient, Hannah from Prahan. After reading all our positive reviews on Google, she decided to pay us a visit. She told me she wasn’t happy with her front teeth. Her teeth have different colour tones and it makes her feel uncomfortable to smile. She asked me, “What is causing my teeth to discolour?”

I have been asked this same question quite often, so I thought I’d make this short video explaining the different causes of teeth discolouration.

Teeth can discolour for many reasons. This can be due to an external discolouration along any rough or uneven tooth surfaces, or from internally inside the tooth.

The most common reason is due to our diet.

For us Melbournians, a love of good coffee is usually the culprit. Other foods and drinks include tea, red wine, berries, cherries, beetroot, curry spices, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce. Smoking also causes teeth to stain quite severely.

Other reasons include old fillings.

Our tooth coloured fillings, unlike ceramic fillings all-caps, tend to discolour over time. If the edge of the filling is worn or uneven, this discolouration can be even more noticeable.

Ill-fitting fillings or crowns: if these are not well-fitted, a gap then develops between the tooth surface and this can be a bacterial trap and risk of dental decay. All crowns with a thick metal layer become visible as the gums recede over time.

Elevate Dental_Teeth Discolouration_Crown

Another cause of teeth discolouration is gum disease.

The bacteria buildup that causes gum disease discolours the longer it has been left on the tooth untreated, ranging from a pale yellow colour to a deeper green, brown, and even black for chronic cases. Besides this bacterial discolouration, gum disease also causes gums to recede, and this exposes the underlying yellow root surface. Unfortunately, once the gums recede they rarely rebound to their original levels.

Next is dental decay.

Teeth with decay will discolour, especially those that are particularly large and deep.
Elevate Dental_Crowding

And finally smoking.

Now internal discolouration can result from trauma to the teeth, root canal treatment to teeth, especially more prevalent in root canal treatments done a very long time ago, and tetracycline staining. This particular antibiotic was given to patients, especially under eight years of age when teeth formation hasn’t been completed, and these teeth will discolour once they erupt through the gums.

Having a healthy white smile is all the rage these days. You just have to make sure that you’re smart about saving your smile. Don’t use DIY dental whiteners or over-the-counter home whitening kits without talking to a professional first. It is important for you to know the right and safe ways to whiten your teeth.

With that in mind, if you are looking at brightening your smile safely and professionally, we would love to look after you.

You can pay us a visit at our clinics in Hawthorn or Richmond. Simply call us on 1300 2 SMILE, complete the form on our website, or directl message us on social media, and we’ll be in touch to help you organise your consultation. See you in the next video.

Note: All content and media on the Elevate Dental website and social media channels are created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.


Services we mentioned:

Dental Crown and Bridge

Teeth Whitening

Periodontal Treatment

Root Canal Treatment

Dental Payment Plans Melbourne Elevate Dental

James Wong is a wonderful Dentist. The communication and patience through the procedure was first class.

James B


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James Wong is a wonderful Dentist. The communication and patience through the procedure was first class.

James B


What a professional and friendly team at Elevate Dental Richmond. Dr Judith’s infectious smile is matched only by her highly competent dentistry.
Richmond is lucky to have such a caring practice! Thanks guys.

Peter O


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