Los Algodones Dentists Guide

Tooth Discoloration Types

Did you know that the real natural color of a healthy tooth is not bright white? In fact, the color of your teeth is determined by the shade of the enamel and the dentine.

The dentine shade is yellow, while the tooth enamel tends to be a bluish translucent, making the tooth color look light yellow or light gray. But in some cases, the teeth can look darker than any of these shades.

The tooth discoloration is a cosmetic problem that can make people feel insecure to show their smile, it leads to the apparition of stains in the surface of the teeth and changes that affect the inside of the teeth. Sometimes tooth discoloration can be caused by the normal process of aging or by other factors linked to the lifestyle.

There exist three different types of tooth discoloration, these are:

  • Aging Process:

    Over time, the enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner and let the yellow dentin show through. This is the reason why the teeth naturally turn yellow with the pass of the time.

  • Extrinsic:

    This type of tooth discoloration occurs due to the consumption of some drinks or foods that stain the outer layer of the tooth enamel. Tobacco also contains substances that cause stains on the teeth. Some of the consumables that cause extrinsic stains to the teeth are cola, wine, coffee, tea, potatoes, apples, and tobacco. A poor dental hygiene can also lead to extrinsic stains due to the buildup of particles in the mouth that are not well removed with the toothbrush and floss, causing stains to the teeth.

  • Intrinsic:

    In this case, the dentin, which is the internal structure of the tooth, is the one that gets affected by getting darker or turning yellow. Some of the causes that can lead to intrinsic stains of the teeth are:

    • The use of some medications like antipsychotics, doxycycline and tetracycline antibiotics, antihypertensives and some antihistamines. If during the second half of pregnancy your mother used tetracycline antibiotics, this could also have affected the color of your teeth.
    • Several diseases and some treatments such as chemotherapy can also lead to tooth discoloration.
    • Excessive expose to fluoride during childhood.
    • Having a trauma in the teeth can cause discoloration due to nerve or enamel damage. An internal bleeding caused by a trauma to the teeth can also lead to tooth discoloration.
    • Dentinogenesis imperfecta. This is a genetic disorder that affects the normal tooth development and causes the discoloration of the teeth. This condition also makes teeth weaker.


    In the case of the tooth discoloration and stains within the tooth’s structure or intrinsic stains, the porcelain veneers are the best option to correct to cover these imperfections. In the case of extrinsic stains that affect the surface layer of the teeth, a professional teeth whitening treatment should be effective to remove the stains from the teeth. It is also possible to fight tooth discoloration at home using a bleaching gel recommended from your dentist, but this process can be longer. A dental crown can also be used to correct tooth discoloration if it is linked to tooth decay or to any trauma that affected the teeth.