Two Types of Tooth Stain
Did you know that there are two types of tooth stains? Intrinsic stains are stains that affect the inner part of your tooth while extrinsic stains affect the outer layer of enamel. Knowing which kind of stains or discoloration affect your teeth can be the deciding factor in which way you treat the stain. While intrinsic stains cannot be removed or whitened, they can be covered up with cosmetic options. Extrinsic stains can typically be removed with some form of whitening treatment or even a whitening toothpaste. Professional whitening may be necessary for some deep extrinsic stains or if you are wanting dramatic results in a hurry.
Extrinsic stains are stains that occur on the outside enamel of the teeth. This type of discoloration is usually caused by age and/or lifestyle choices. Drinking dark beverages such as tea, coffee, and cola can all stain the enamel; especially if it is done daily for many years. Enamel can also naturally dull and yellow as we get older. Smoking can cause the teeth to turn yellow. To remove the stains, your dentist can provide a whitening kit for you to take home or perform an in-office treatment for dramatic results.
Intrinsic stains are stains that occur inside of the teeth. These stains are a discoloration of the dentin, the inner layer beneath the enamel of the teeth. This type of staining can be caused by certain medications, trauma to the tooth, internal bleeding, genetics, and advanced age. Intrinsic stains can affect just one tooth, many teeth, or all of them. Whitening treatments cannot remove intrinsic staining as they cannot penetrate the depths of the tooth. Cosmetic dentistry options such as porcelain veneers or bonding can cover up intrinsic staining to get the desired appearance. Bonding can make a difference for one or a few teeth, while veneers can be a good option for a full smile makeover.