Tooth discoloration may be caused by problems with the formation of the tooth enamel, problems within the tooth, or by simple stains from food, beverages, or habits. Certain medications or chemicals taken by a pregnant woman or by a very young child can disrupt the development of tooth enamel and result in the tooth becoming discolored, mottled, or pitted.
Tooth discoloration also may be caused by a tooth that is chronically infected or necrotic with the tooth taking on a uniform grayish hue. In this situation, the infection must be treated first and then the color can be corrected by bleaching or a restoration. The simplest form of tooth discoloration is the stains caused by external factors such as food/beverages or tobacco use.
Tooth discoloration may be managed by a professional cleaning, tooth whitening procedure, and/or the placement of porcelain veneers. These procedures may remove the discoloration and restore the teeth to their original brightness and whiteness.