What Causes Stubborn Tooth Discoloration?

What Causes Stubborn Tooth Discoloration?

Posted by Stonegate Dentistry on Mar 29 2018, 08:48 AM

What Causes Stubborn Tooth Discoloration?

Tooth discoloration is a frustrating, often embarrassing problem. It seems like no matter how much you brush, your teeth look dull, gray, transparent or yellow.

You may have tried over-the-counter whiteners, whitening mouthwash and whitening trays. 

You even may have quit smoking or changed your diet in an attempt to approve your tooth color, all to no avail.

While tooth discoloration is frustrating, there are often underlying causes that aren’t well-known.

Today, we’re looking at a few causes of stubborn tooth discoloration.


If you took tetracycline when you were a child, it might have caused severe (and stubborn) gray bands or stains on your adult teeth. Tetracycline staining can also occur on the teeth of babies born to women who took the drug while pregnant.

These stains are among the hardest to remove. Professional whitening done by a dentist may help reduce the stains. Sometimes, however veneers are needed to restore the look of teeth with tetracycline stains.


Another medication that causes tooth staining is linezolid.

Linezolid is often prescribed to treat serious bacterial infections like staphylococcus. Unfortunately, children who receive linozelid to treat a bacterial infection can also experience tooth staining.

Unlike tetracycline, however, this staining is extrinsic and can be removed with professional whitening by a dentist.

Tooth Trauma

If you were hit in the mouth or experienced an impact that damaged your teeth, you could experience staining.

When a tooth experiences trauma or impact, it can bleed internally. That blood can then pool in the pulp of the tooth, causing a brown or darkened appearance.

Often, tooth discoloration following impact or damage goes away on its own. If it doesn’t, you may have to get a root canal to clean the pulp of the damaged tooth and restore your smile.


Cigarettes contain tar, nicotine and other carcinogens that can stain your teeth and even the skin on your fingers dark yellow. Individuals who have smoked for years can have tooth staining that verges on deep brown.

Deeply set tooth stains caused by smoking may be difficult to remove with over-the-counter whiteners. Professional whitening may be necessary to get your teeth back to a presentable appearance.

Have more questions about tooth staining or whitening treatments? Contact Dentist in Murfreesboro TN today.

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