2 Types of Tooth Stains

Even with an excellent oral health care routine, chances are your teeth are not as white as you’d like them to be. 

You’re probably already familiar with the common causes of most teeth stains, such as drinking coffee and red wine, smoking, and eating certain foods. However, other factors can stain your teeth from the inside out. 

But do you know that the type of tooth stain will determine the best method for whitening your teeth?

At Scott Young, DDS, our dentists, and team of dental professionals offer teeth whitening treatments and a range of general and cosmetic dentistry services at our office in The Woodlands, Texas.

2 types of tooth stains

To the naked eye, it can be hard to tell the difference between types of tooth stains. However, tooth stains and discolorations range in color and severity depending on the underlying cause. A smoker’s teeth will usually stain yellow, while tooth stains caused by trauma or taking a medication like tetracycline will be grayer in color. 

What causes the difference? 

It all depends on whether the stain is intrinsic or extrinsic. An intrinsic tooth stain originates inside the tooth when the dentin layer is damaged (by trauma to the tooth, for example) or as a result of chemical changes inside the tooth (medications or the natural aging process). 

Extrinsic tooth stains are the ones that we’re most familiar with: they develop when the surface of the tooth (the enamel layer) becomes discolored due to food and drinks or tobacco in cigarettes. 

How to treat the 2 types of tooth stains

There are several options available to whiten your teeth if you have intrinsic or extrinsic stains and discolorations. However, the best treatment depends on the type of stain and whether you have dental restorations.

Professional teeth whitening treatments work best on extrinsic tooth stains and on teeth that don’t have dental restorations like crowns or veneers. Over-the-counter products like whitening toothpastes and gels can help, but they aren’t as effective as a professional treatment from the dentist and can expose your teeth to abrasive ingredients that actually harm your tooth enamel.

Surface whitening treatments tend to be less effective on intrinsic tooth stains, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a discolored smile! If you have intrinsic tooth stains, cosmetic veneers may be a better option to whiten your teeth instead.

For more information about professional teeth whitening treatments and which procedure will work best for you, contact us today to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online.

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