Can You Remove Teeth Stains?
A common question asked by patients with discolored teeth is, “Can stains be removed from teeth?” To answer this question, it must first be said that there are two types of tooth stains: intrinsic and extrinsic. The answer to whether or not a stain can be removed is dependent on whether the stain is intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic stains cannot be removed, but they can be covered up with cosmetic options. Extrinsic stains can usually be removed with whitening. Professional whitening may be necessary for some deep, longstanding set-in stains.
Extrinsic stains are stains that occur on the outside of the teeth. These stains affect the outer surface of the teeth on the enamel. This type of discoloration is caused by lifestyle choices and time. Dark beverages such as tea, coffee, and cola can all stain the enamel. Enamel can also dull and yellow as we age. Smoking cigarettes causes the teeth to turn yellow. There are special whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes that can make a bit of a difference in extrinsic staining. For dramatic results, professional whitening treatment from your dentist can be fast and effective.
Intrinsic stains are stains that occur within the teeth. These stains are a discoloration of the dentin or inner layer of the teeth. This type of staining can be caused by certain medications, trauma to the tooth, genetics, and advanced age. Intrinsic stains can affect all teeth, one, or just a few at a time. Whitening treatments cannot penetrate the inner layers of the tooth and therefore cannot remove intrinsic staining. Cosmetic dentistry options such as porcelain veneers or bonding may be worthwhile options to cover up intrinsic staining to get the desired whiteness. If you have just one or a few teeth that are discolored from intrinsic stains, bonding may be a good choice to get the teeth to the color of the rest. Porcelain veneers can be a great choice if you would like to upgrade your entire smile.