Even if you’re brushing your teeth every day, you can still end up with stains on your teeth. This can happen for many different reasons, such as drinking coffee and other dark-colored beverages as well as using certain kinds of medication. If you want to keep your smile looking its best, then it’s important to know about the different types of tooth stains as well as how they can be removed. The following post covers the basics of dental staining and what you can do about it.
What Kinds of Tooth Stains Are There?
Tooth discoloration can have many possible causes, but it typically falls into one of three broad categories:
- Extrinsic: This type of stain only occurs on the surface of your enamel. It’s usually caused by consuming dark-colored foods and beverages regularly. Tobacco is also a common culprit for extrinsic stains.
- Intrinsic: This type of stain is below the enamel and often makes the tooth look somewhat gray. The location of this type of stain makes it difficult to remove with conventional whitening products. Intrinsic stains might be caused by trauma, specific medications, tooth decay, and excessive amounts of fluoride.
- Age-Related: In some cases what appears to be a stain is actually a result of the enamel wearing away over time, causing the yellowish dentin layer to become more visible.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell what kind of tooth stains you have just by looking. Your best option is to visit your dentist so they can figure out the nature of your tooth discoloration – as well as the best options for removing it.
How Can You Get Rid of Tooth Stains?
Your first thought might be to buy whitening strips and whitening toothpaste from the store to remove tooth stains. However, while these products can help diminish some extrinsic stains, they’re not powerful enough to work on intrinsic stains. As such, in many cases, you’ll need a professional’s help to get rid of stains.
In many cases, your dentist can give you a take-home whitening kit that contains personalized trays and a bleaching solution. You’ll fill the trays with the solution before placing them on your teeth for a set amount of time each day. The ingredients in the solution can penetrate your enamel to remove stains that conventional whitening products wouldn’t be able to reach, making this an effective way to address both extrinsic and intrinsic stains.
There are some stains – particularly age-related ones – that don’t even respond to professional whitening treatments. Your best option in these situations may be to cover the teeth in question with veneers. Be sure to ask your dentist about the different cosmetic options they offer.
You don’t have to go through life with embarrassing stains on your teeth; there are plenty of ways you can make your smile bright again. Call your dentist’s office today to take the first steps in fighting back against dental discoloration.
About the Author
Dr. Bo Crofoot is the dentist at Cornerstone Family Dental. He studied at Creighton University to earn his Doctor of Dental Surgery, and over the years he has attended many advanced training courses so that he can offer his patients in Rexburg a wide range of dental services. If you’re bothered by discolored teeth, he may recommend take-home tooth whitening or other cosmetic procedures to get the smile that you want. To schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (208) 656-2225.