Understanding Tooth Discoloration: Causes and Solutions

Dentist in Calgary Serving Northwest, Downtown, and Nearby Calgary, Alberta


A bright and confident smile can have a tremendous impact on your overall appearance and self-esteem. However, tooth discoloration can diminish the radiance of your smile. Understanding the causes of tooth discoloration, ranging from natural aging to lifestyle habits, can help demonstrate the necessary steps to achieve a brighter, more dazzling smile and inform how teeth whitening can effectively address each type of stain.

Types of Tooth Discoloration: Unveiling the Culprits

Tooth discoloration can be classified into two main categories, intrinsic and extrinsic stains. 

As we age, our tooth enamel naturally wears down, revealing the underlying dentin, which is yellower in color. This type of tooth discoloration is known as an intrinsic stain. It’s the result of changes in the tooth’s structure and is typically related to internal factors, including aging, and certain medications.

Years of exposure to staining substances like coffee, tea, and red wine can also contribute to this discoloration. This type of tooth discoloration is known as an extrinsic stain. These occur on the outer layer of the tooth enamel and are often caused by external factors such as dietary habits (deeply pigmented foods and beverages, such as berries, soy sauce, and coffee), tobacco use, and poor oral hygiene.

Professional teeth whitening treatments can address both intrinsic and extrinsic stains.

Medications and Intrinsic Stains

Some medications, such as tetracycline antibiotics, can cause intrinsic stains that are deeply embedded within the tooth structure. These stains can be resistant to over-the-counter whitening products. However, professional teeth whitening treatments, tailored to your specific needs, can effectively address these intrinsic stains, revealing a brighter and more uniform smile.

The Power of Professional Teeth Whitening

While there are numerous over-the-counter whitening products available, professional teeth whitening offers distinct advantages:

  • Customized treatment: A dental professional can assess your specific type and severity of tooth discoloration and tailor the treatment accordingly, ensuring optimal results.
  • Stronger and safer solutions: Professional teeth whitening treatments use stronger whitening agents that can penetrate the tooth enamel, effectively removing stubborn stains while minimizing potential sensitivity.
  • Long-lasting results: Compared to over-the-counter products, professional teeth whitening treatments provide longer-lasting and more noticeable results, allowing you to enjoy a radiant smile for an extended period.

Scheduling a Consultation

Understanding the causes of tooth discoloration empowers you to make informed decisions about your oral health and the appearance of your smile. Whether your tooth stains are extrinsic or intrinsic, professional teeth whitening can effectively address them, revealing a brighter, more confident smile.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our office via our website or by calling 403-407-5730.


*all procedures performed at our practice by a general dentist