Back to articles

Treating surface discolourations on teeth

Advancement in the speciality of Paediatric Dentistry

Surface Discolourations

A simple clean

There are a variety of conditions that can cause superficial discolouration on the enamel of your child's teeth. Both the primary teeth and the permanent teeth can be affected. Surface discolouration may occur as the result of foods or drinks, or certain medicines, particularly those containing high levels of iron. Discolouration can also arise from an imbalance in the germs in your mouth, and sometimes from just not cleaning the teeth properly!

Iron stain on teeth

Iron stain gone after a simple but thorough clean

Enamel Microabrasion

Some teeth have a speckled appearance with a white mottling. Sometimes, brown spots or patches can be observed.

Moderate fluorosis

These superficial discolourations will often respond well to enamel micro-abrasion. Enamel micro-abrasion is simple procedure that involves polishing the tooth with a mild acid solution until the discolouration is dissolved away. After the micro abrasion process the tooth surface is treated with a remineralisation solution to re-harden and reseal the surface.

Dark brown surface stain

Dark brown stain after enamel microabrasion

Other teeth may have a deep stain, rather than a superficial stain. Some  discoloured patches may go all the way through the enamel surface. Sometimes there is a deep internal discolouration as a result of injury, root canal therapy, or some medicines.

Veneering

Developmental dark brown stain going all the way through the enamel

These deep discolourations will not respond well to enamel micro-abrasion, or other bleaching techniques. Sometimes it is necessary to mask the discoloured area using a standard filling material as a veneer.

Cream and brown enamel opacities

Cream and brown enamel opacities after treatment with direct veneers

If you have any questions about the colour of your child's teeth, please ask your dentist or oral health professional to advise what would be the simplest and most effective treatment option.