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Types of Tooth Stains and How They Are Treated

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There's a reason why over-the-counter teeth whitening products and in-office whitening services have become so popular over the years - people want to improve their appearance and have a brighter smile. However, tooth discoloration and/or teeth staining can stem from a variety of causes, which include both issues with the tooth itself and reactions to the food and drinks that one consumes. In order to better understand tooth staining, we've decided to take a look at the most common types of stains and how best to treat them.

The 3 Main Types of Tooth Stains

  • Extrinsic: Extrinsic staining occurs when the enamel becomes discolored. Remember, the enamel is the protective hard tissue that helps prevent tooth decay and protects the dentin. However, enamel also comes into contact with every food and drink that an individual consumes, and it's not immune to changes in color because of this. This happens gradually when the enamel absorbs the pigments from these foods that are left behind in the mouth. To resolve extrinsic staining, usually a tooth whitening toothpaste can do the trick. If that doesn't work, a good professional teeth cleaning from the dentist typically works. To avoid extrinsic staining, brush or rinse your mouth soon after you consume the likes of tea, coffee, berries, red wine and curry.

  • Intrinsic: Intrinsic staining is the staining of the dentin, or the tissue that is directly beneath the enamel. Unlike extrinsic staining, intrinsic staining occurs from conditions that are inside of the mouth. For instance, some common causes of intrinsic staining include poor oral health, trauma to the mouth area or a reaction to certain types of medication. Intrinsic staining is best treated by either a home whitening kit or via a special whitening treatment performed by your dentist. In more dire cases of intrinsic staining, tooth restoration such as bonding or administering a crown may be necessary.

  • Age-related staining: Over time, your dentin will get darker and the enamel will wear thinner and thinner. It's nothing more than one of the many changes to the body as humans age, and there's really nothing that people can do to prevent it. Getting old is such a drag! These age-related stains, however, can typically be resolved. One way is through the use of an in-home bleaching kit. If that's not enough, a dentist may have to perform a whitening service in the office. The key to removing stains from age-related causes is to have a treatment that's powerful enough to penetrate into the dentin of the tooth to remove the discoloration. 

For more information on teeth staining, the causes of staining and how to treat the different types of staining, contact Caven Dental today.

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