Post #45 – Teeth Stains

I Want a Bright Smile!

When patients ask Dr. Ghodsi how to make their smile look its brightest, they are made aware that treating dental stains is a little more complicated than some patients may think. Not All Stains Are the Same. Many patients seem to think that dental stains are just stains when it comes to their smiles; however, Dr. Ghodsi will perform an oral examination to determine the kind of stain(s) the patient presents in order to prescribe the most effective bleaching or whitening treatment. So while all stains will make your smile look less than stellar, it is important that each stain be considered in terms of its type and primary cause(s). The three kinds of stains we will discuss here are: extrinsic dental stains, intrinsic dental stains, and age-related tooth discoloration.

Extrinsic Dental Stains

Extrinsic dental stains are tooth stains that originate in the enamel layer of a tooth. This means that the stains start at the tooth’s surface. The most common causes of extrinsic dental stains include tobacco products, red wine, coffee, tea, curries, soft drinks, blueberries, tomato sauce, beets, and carrots.

Treatment Options for Extrinsic Dental Stains. The best treatment option to consider for most extrinsic dental stains is teeth whitening. This involves the bleaching of the enamel of the teeth. Multiple whitening sessions can be performed with the dentist in order to maximize the results. If the stains are too deep set to be addressed through teeth whitening treatment, the best alternatives are dental bleaching or the use of porcelain veneers.

Intrinsic Dental Stains

Intrinsic dental stains are tooth stains that come from within the tooth rather than originating from its surface. Common Causes of Intrinsic Dental Stains. The causes of intrinsic dental stains are more varied. Some of the common causes of these kinds of tooth discoloration include: excessive exposure to fluoride, use of tetracycline at an early age, injury to the tooth, infection of the pulp chamber of the tooth, and congenital tooth discoloration.

Treatment Options for Intrinsic Dental Stains. Teeth whitening treatment is not an ideal option for intrinsic stains since the bleaching solutions will not be able to access the internal structures of the tooth. Given this, the most common treatments for intrinsic dental stains include dental bonding, porcelain veneers, and crowns. In essence, the intrinsic stain will need to be capped or masked from view.

Age-Related Tooth Discoloration: A Mix of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors

Age-related tooth discoloration refers to a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. This is a given following the wear and tear that a person’s teeth go through over time. Treating age-related tooth discoloration will sometimes involve multiple treatments in order to address the surface and internal stains of the tooth.

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