(02) 9569 3378 / (02) 9560 9371 51 Garners Ave, Marrickville, NSW 2204, Australia

What Causes Yellow and Discoloured Teeth?

According to a US research paper if you have yellow teeth you are considered to have abnormal tooth colour.

We don’t really need a research paper to tell us that yellow teeth are unpleasant to look at. No matter how beautiful a person’s face is, if they have yellow teeth, an onlooker’s eye will usually, automatically, be drawn to the discoloration.

Yellow teeth can be embarrassing, they can even stop people from smiling. Not all tooth discoloration is the same, they mainly fall into three categories:

Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?

  •  Extrinsic Stains

    stains on the surface of the enamel that can easily be removed. They are commonly caused by certain food and drinks or smoking.

  • Intrinsic stains

    these stains occur within the inner structure of the tooth, called the dentin. That makes these stains more difficult to remove. Common causes include:

    • Treatment with tetracycline antibiotics while the tooth was forming,
    • Excess fluoride consumption during enamel formation.
    • They can also occur when a tooth is injured and excess blood flows to the tooth causing the tooth to permanently darken.

  • Age Related Staining 

    Tis can be a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic staining. Our teeth turn yellow as we age. For most people the years of poor oral cleaning habits combined with eating and drinking foods that stain our teeth create a buildup of discoloration over time. For everybody, the outer layer of our tooth enamel becomes thinner and more transparent as we age, causing discoloration from the inner layer to emerge to the surface.

The reason we are showing this Teeth Whitening Video is to demonstrate how bleaching can whiten teeth but this method is not recommended.  


Is it Possible to Make Yellow Teeth White Again?

Removing teeth discoloration and stains from teeth using a special bleaching process is a treatment known as teeth whitening – your teeth will be instantly whiter and brighter. Garners Dental have a skilled team of dental hygienists that can make your teeth look “whiter” and significantly improve their appearance.

Heavily stained teeth are easily fixed with a scale and polish procedure that is conducted by a dental hygienist.

Different types of teeth whitening available?

Garners dental offer two types of whitening:

  • Laser / in-surgery Teeth Whitening
  • Professional home whitening kits

Tooth whitening procedures and products are based on a bleaching process. A peroxide-based bleaching gel of varying strength (3%-6% peroxide in Home Kits or stronger when applied by a dentist in surgery) is used in this process. The yellower the shade of the tooth, the higher the concentration of peroxide.

Whilst there are many teeth whitening products available from the supermarket and the chemist, It is important to discuss teeth whitening with your Dentist first because the process can cause side effects such as damage and sensitivity to your lips and gums.

Laser Tooth Whitening

In-surgery whitening, commonly known as Laser Tooth Whitening is a one to two hour procedure done by your Dentist that whitens teeth using a light-activated bleaching gel. This effective procedure produces instant whitening results. Garners dental recommend that their patients first have a laser whitening treatment which can be complemented with regular at-home whitening treatments.

Professional home whitening kits

A professional home whitening kit is custom made for each individual, unlike generic store bought whitening kits. To make the kits your dentist will use dental putty to make a mould of your teeth. The dental technician will use the mould made by the dentist to cast a model of your teeth from plaster that is used to make custom teeth whitening trays specially designed for only your mouth.

The trays are to be used in combination with professional whitening gel. Some trays may need to be worn overnight and others will only need to be worn for 1-2 hours a day – each patient is unique and your dentist will create an at-home care plan specifically tailored to your needs.

Professional Treatment and At-Home Treatment

Professional home whitening kits provide long lasting results over an extended period of time but the process is slow. Laser tooth whitening will produce immediate results. A combination of the two is an ideal whitening care plan that ensures an immediate dramatic teeth whitening effect is maintained and remains white for a long period of time. In short, this plan means that the whitening effect is instant and that it lasts.

The Laser Tooth Whitening procedure

If you are considering this procedure it is important to book a consultation with a dentist to make sure that your teeth are suitable for whitening and to set realistic expectations. Dr Daniel James and Dr Santosh Bassi from Garners dental will review your goals and and conduct a thorough screening after which they will explain the possible risks and any side effects of the procedure.

Are You Suitable for tooth whitening

Many people are not suitable for teeth whitening and a dentist will assess your suitability during a consultation.

You are not a good candidate for teeth whitening procedures if you have:

  • Pregnancy issues
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Allergies to products.
  • Gum disease
  • Worn enamel
  • Cavities
  • Exposed roots
  • Gum disease
  • Other dental health problems

Some of these issues you may not be aware of as they may not cause pain until they reach a serious level.

Dental Restorations & Teeth Whitening

It is important to know that tooth-coloured fillings and resin composite materials used in dental restorations (crowns, bonding, bridges, and veneers) do not whiten. If you have any type of dental restoration and you whiten your teeth it will result in uneven whitening because the teeth without restorations appear lighter than those with restorations.

If you are going to the dentist for any type of restoration work and you have thought about getting your teeth professionally whitened, it would be best to speak to your dentist about doing the whitening procedure first, so that the placement of composite bonding, fillings, dentures, veneers, crowns, or porcelain restorations will match in colour.  Our team at Garners Dental are experts in cosmetic dentistry and can create a strategy tailored to your individual needs.

If you decide to get your teeth whitened first, it is important to know that you will need to do the whitening procedure at least 2 weeks before the dental restoration procedure.

The two week gap in treatment is because after the whitening treatment the enamel on your teeth need time to recover and re-mineralise. Tooth-coloured fillings will also need to be replaced after the bleaching process is complete. Whilst it is an extra effort and an additional trip to the dentist, it is well worth the effort.

If you are investing in dental restorative work, adding tooth whitening to your cosmetic dental plan is a long term investment – the dental restoration will give you perfect shape, size, and tooth width and the whitening treatment will give you perfect pearly white colour.

If you already have numerous restorations and are considering a whitening procedure, speak with your dentist, you may be better off getting a full set of pre-whitened veneers or crowns – where the prosthetic teeth are whitened before the dentist fits them in your mouth.

Speak to your dentist about what strategy is best for you and if you would like to spread the payments over time, ask about our dental finance plan.

How to Whiten Yellow Teeth

Stages of Teeth Whitening Procedures

Stage 1: The Scale and Polish

Before the teeth whitening process is started an oral hygienist or the dentist clean the teeth thoroughly, removing tartar and surface stains.

Stage 2: What Shade of Yellow 

Using a special tooth coloured shade guide/chart the dentist will establish the degree of yellowness, making a note in the patient’s file of the exact shade their teeth were before the procedure.

Stage 3: Prepare and Protect

Bleaching compounds used in the procedure sometimes contain a high concentration of peroxide that can cause potential damage or burning. To protect the patient from the peroxide the dentist will:

  • Protect the gums by covering them with rolls of cotton and a hardening protective gel, and
  • Protect the lips and cheeks by using a cheek retractor designed to keep the lips and cheeks away from the teeth.
  • Protect the eyes with goggles to prevent laser damage and protect them from any accidental splashes of the peroxide.

Stage 4: Gel and Laser

The teeth are applied with whitening gel which is activated exposing the gel covered area to a light or laser for around 15 minutes. However, depending on the unique requirements of the patent, sometimes a laser is not used, and the gel is simply applied and left on for around 15 minutes.

Stage 5: Rinse and Repeat 

After approximately 15 minutes the gel is removed and dentist will repeat the process another 2 times.

Stage 6: What Shade of White

After the process is repeated three times the dentist will wash off the whitening gel and remove any gum protection. Results will be instant and the dentist will use the same shade chart/guide used in Stage 2 to evaluate the results.

The treatment is so effective that results are usually very dramatic, often showing a colour improvement of around 10 shades lighter. A kit for home whitening containing custom trays and professional whitening gel may also be provided, depending on the patients individual needs.

What does the teeth whitening procedure feel Like?

During the Procedure

At no stage during the procedure should you feel burning on your lips or gums. If you do feel burning, it is really important to tell your Dentist.

Some people may feel short-lived shooting pains in their teeth during the procedure. This is normal and is nothing to be alarmed about.

After the Procedure

It is normal to feel sensitivity in your teeth immediately after this procedure, lasting up to 48 hours. If your teeth are still really sensitive after the 48 hour mark, let your dentist know.

To minimise the discomfort, avoid hot or cold drinks for a while after the treatment. If the patient has a history of sensitive teeth, sometimes a fluoride treatment following teeth whitening is done by the dentist to reduce this effect on sensitivity. Home whitening kits usually also contain a solution that will reduce tooth sensitivity.

How much whiter will my teeth look?

This varies from individual to individual, and also depends on the type of whitening system used. Some people respond very well to teeth whitening and have dramatically whiter teeth as a result, whereas others may notice very little difference at all. People with heavily stained yellow teeth tend to have more dramatic results than those with slightly discoloured teeth. Your dentist will be able to advise you on the likely results following a consultation.