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Tooth Discoloration : Causes, Treatment, Side effects, Costs and Alternatives

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2024

What is Tooth Discoloration ?

Tooth discoloration refers to the discoloration on to surface of teeth due to stains or change in the material of the teeth due to several factors including bad eating and brushing habits. A good care of teeth is not only important for the internal health and structure of the teeth and the gums but is also important for a good presentation of it in naturally white color. Discoloration happens due to mild dental fluorosis, stains from coffee, alcohol, cola etc. and bad brushing habits as well. There is different types or forms of discoloration of teeth including Amelogenesis imperfect, associated enamel pitting and extrinsic dental discoloration. There are numerous of severe causes for discoloration as well that affects the teeth more drastically than others like tobacco and smoking habits, certain medical treatments like head and neck radiation and chemotherapy, antibiotics like doxycycline and tetracycline, dental materials like amalgam restorations, environment with excessive fluoride, trauma and much more. The treatment options that are available for whitening the teeth or fighting discoloration are using proper tooth brushing, flossing techniques, avoiding foods that cause stains, bonding, veneers, in-office whitening procedures etc. out of these bonding and veneers are dentist procedures for removing the discoloration, however, the results will be maintained only if the person himself takes care of his teeth by proper dental hygiene and timely dental checkups. The procedure thus helps to remove discoloration but the maintenance of the teeth is to be ensured by the person himself. Proper flossing and brushing movements should be cleared up with in order to maintain whiteness of teeth regularly.

How is the treatment done ?

There are many treatment methods to overcome the issues of discoloration of teeth. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Changes in lifestyle by maintaining good dental hygiene: the most simple and controlled method is to improve personal dental hygiene and food habits thus changing lethargic and unimpressive lifestyle habits. The brushing of teeth should always be done in an up and down movement that will help the bristles to get all the food out from in between the teeth, which is also a major reason for discoloration. On the other hand, flossing is also one of the techniques that helps in getting the food stuck in between the teeth.
  2. Usage of teeth whitening products: teeth-whitening products are available to help you makeover your discolored teeth into a beautiful white smile. One can get the best product by consulting the dentist.
  3. Bonding: In bonding a tooth-colored a durable plastic material is applied and hardened with a special light, to the tooth to restore or improve person's smile.
  4. Veneers: Veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells gets bonded with the teeth of the person from the front face so well they make proper fitting with the color, shape and appearance of their teeth. For this the procedure starts right from the diagnosis and treatment planning followed by preparation with certain pre-treatment considerations and then doing the actual procedure or the bonding.
  5. Cleaning procedures: There are also other cleaning procedures to remove the stains and yellow coloration from the teeth that can be done in every 6 months from your respective dentists. The procedure starts right from preparation in advance for the actual procedure, bonding process that is application of the material and the last is time for completion that is 30 to 60 minutes for each tooth. However, above all lies the personal habits and determination to change the problem because it more dependent on us rather than outside forces.

Who is eligible for the treatment of Tooth Discoloration?

Patients who have their teeth looking yellowish in nature especially the ones that affect their smile, those who have stained or cracked teeth can go for custom-made dental veneers for a better and younger appearance and renovation of the teeth. There are not so notable risk involved during these procedures and thus anybody is eligible except young children who cannot keep up with considerations of the after procedure safety like breaking of material due to chewing finger nails, eating hard things etc.

Apart from that people who have more coffee and tea drinking habit, smoking habits, chewing tobacco can go for this treatment and thus are eligible for this treatment. Some medication also have impact on the discoloration of the teeth and thus those who are more interested to have a good white teeth are all eligible for the treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Generally young children who have still not grown their mature teeth and other teenage children who can still fight the discoloration of teeth through improvement in lifestyle habits, oral hygiene and brushing habits as well as food habits should not go for these procedures since they can naturally try to remove discoloration and they can also not keep up with the post-procedure considerations or precautions that would be restricted since the material used in procedure is not as strong as the natural teeth of humans and can break easily with a simple mistake.


Are there any side effects?

There are certain side effects associated with the dental veneer procedure. To name a few, there is slight tooth sensitivity, irregularities in color, general discomfort that depicts as if something artificial is constantly there in your mouth, possible issues with placement of the veneers over the tooth, a higher risk of trauma as well as a not pleasing response from the gum tissues.

On the other hand, with the dental bonding there are few side effects associated such as little bit discomfort for few days post-procedure like tooth sensitivity from anything too cold or hot, and a little bit of pain that can fought with pain medications. In case any patient reports any other complexity after undergoing the treatment the patient is advised to consult the doctor immediately.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The post-treatment guidelines after the procedure of dental bonding includes brushing i.e. brushing twice a day and using toothpaste that contains fluoride. In addition, the toothbrush should be replaced in every 4 to 5 months. Second is flossing that is very important to get every bit of food that is stuck out of your teeth. Next is drinking water after meals that reduces acidity levels in mouth. Then, avoiding any food, drinks, products or habits that are responsible for staining, discoloration and wearing of the tooth material.

The post-treatment guidelines for the procedure of dental veneers also includes above given steps followed by good and proper oral hygiene care.

How long does it take to recover?

There is no such recovery time involved post the dental bonding procedure. It however, requires certain precautions that are to be taken for about 48 hours post the dental bonding procedure for example. No smoking, intake of food that is of moderate temperature since a little bit of tooth sensitivity can be felt and avoiding eating very hard food items. Apart from this, the recovery time involved in the procedure of dental veneers is 4 to g months after any dental implants for a full healing of the teeth , the pain involved and precautions to ease up a bit.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The general dental treatment for cleaning teeth can range from Rs: 500 INR to Rs: 3000 INR. The teeth whitening products can range from Rs: 100 to Rs: 1500/- INR. For the procedure of dental bonding, the cost of the same in India is for Rs: 25,000/- as the average cost for per tooth to be treated. The cost is also based on different cosmetic goals and preferences of the patient involved that differs a lot with number of teeth to be operated, dental clinic visited, how much repairing is required and much more. On the other hand, the procedure of dental veneers in India is for about Rs: 20,000/- per tooth and resin Veneers at approximately 15,000/- INR per tooth.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The life span of the treatment done depends on how much bonding is done, in case of dental bonding, as well as personal oral hygiene. It is not permanent in nature for life however, it lasts for about 3 to 10 years before it has to be touched up or replaced again.

On the other hand, for the procedure of dental veneers, as well, it is not permanent in nature for life but it lasts for about 7 to 15 years before it needs to be replaced again.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

The best alternatives to the treatment involves teeth whitening that includes in-office whitening of teeth, Invisalign that includes a discreet and non-intrusive teeth straightening treatment, crowns that includes fitting of custom-made caps known as crowns and above all the most natural alternative is improved lifestyle habit and dental care techniques that improves the quality as well as appearance of the teeth and does not require any money to be spent but a lot of effort and determination to improve.

Some home remedies which can be opted are:

  1. Take a piece of the peel and rub it directly on the teeth for 2-3 minutes and after some time rinse it properly.
  2. Chew sesame seeds as these seeds act as a natural scrub. They clean and polish the teeth and help to remove the plaque and tartar.
  3. Munch vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables.

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Written ByDr. Vikram Singh AtwalPCAD,MCID Implant,BDS,Advanced AestheticsDentistry
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