Our Dental Blog

Do You Know the Types of Tooth Stain?

December 4, 2017

There are two different types of stains that can affect the color of your teeth. Knowing the difference between the two types of stains can mean that you will better know how to treat them. The two types of stains are intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic stains cannot be removed or whitened, but they can be covered up with other cosmetic dentistry options. Extrinsic stains can often be removed with some form of whitening treatment or even a whitening toothpaste. Professional whitening can be a good choice for deep extrinsic stains. 

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Intrinsic stains are a type of discoloration that comes from the inside of the tooth. These types of stains affect the dentin, the inner layer of the tooth beneath the enamel of the teeth. This type of discoloration can be caused by a myriad of reasons, such as, specific medication, trauma to the tooth, internal bleeding, genetics, and advanced age. Intrinsic staining can affect a single tooth, many teeth, or all of them. Whitening treatments do not penetrate beneath the enamel, so they cannot whiten intrinsic stains. Cosmetic dentistry options such as porcelain veneers or bonding can cover up intrinsic staining to get the teeth to the desired color. Bonding can cover just one or a few teeth, while veneers can be a good option for a full smile makeover.


Extrinsic staining is discoloration of the outside enamel of the teeth. This type of stain is often caused by age and/or lifestyle choices like drinking dark beverages such as tea, coffee, and cola, smoking cigarettes, or a lax oral hygiene routine. Even without a specific cause, enamel can naturally dull and get yellow as we age. To remove extrinsic stains, your dentist can provide a custom whitening kit for you to take home. Your dentist can also treat your teeth to an in-office whitening treatment for faster results. Depending on the depth of your situation, a good professional cleaning can make your teeth sparkle.

Are Your Teeth Stained or Discolored?

Extrinsic and intrinsic stains can often be handled with cosmetic dentistry. To schedule a consultation by calling Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry of Kansas City, MO, today at 816-427-4018.