What causes tooth staining and discoloration?
Have you ever had tooth staining or discoloration that you couldn’t remove with your toothbrush and floss? Do you notice your teeth get visibly whiter after a complete dental cleaning by a dental professional? It’s very likely that you are experiencing some staining on your teeth. Tooth discoloration and stains can happen for a variety of reasons. Some reasons are completely out of your control, but often it can be reversed or prevented by changing your eating or social habits.
The three main categories of staining as identified by dental professionals are as follows:
Extrinsic Teeth Stains:
These types of stains occur when there is a build-up of stain particles on your enamel (the outermost layer of your teeth). Common causes of extrinsic stains include tobacco use (smoking or chewing), and/or regular consumption of coffee, tea, wine, or cola. Additionally, you will have to be mindful of consuming darkly colored foods including pasta sauce, chocolate, soy sauce, and curry. The good news is extrinsic stains can easily be removed at your dental cleaning in conjunction with brushing with a whitening toothpaste regularly at home.
Intrinsic Teeth Stains:
These types of stains affect the dentin (the inner layer of your tooth) and often results in the affected tooth/teeth to look yellow, brown, grey, or orange. Some common causes include excessive fluoride ingestion during childhood development, acid erosion, trauma, or certain medical treatments and medications. Intrinsic staining cannot be removed! But there are cosmetic options available to lighten or mask the stain. These include professional whitening, crowns, or veneers. A visit with Dr. Chien can determine the best treatment option for you as it depends on the darkness of your stain.
Age-related Teeth Stains:
These types of stains result from a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic stains. Dentin (the inner layer of your tooth) is naturally a yellow color, and as you age, your enamel (the outermost layer of your tooth) will wear away to allow the yellow of your dentin to show through. This process in combination with any extrinsic stains is the result of the darkening of your tooth color as we age.
It is important to know what type of staining you have so that you can effectively remove or mask the staining. A visit to Cypress Dental can determine the main causes of your discoloration, and a treatment plan for removal or cover-up will be customized specifically to your needs.
When should you see a dentist regarding staining?
- When staining is localized to a single tooth, this may be a result of a cavity or can be due to a previous injury or trauma to the tooth.
- When you notice a change in the color of your teeth, and regular brushing in conjunction with a whitening product is not working
- If the staining appears to be deeper than the outer layer of the tooth
Regular visits with Dr. Samantha Chien will keep your teeth and gums looking healthy. Issues with your teeth are usually caught early on at routine exams, this allows for treatment to be completed early and preventing the issue from becoming bigger or more complicated.
The good news is extrinsic stains can easily be removed at your dental cleaning in conjunction with brushing with a whitening toothpaste regularly at home. See some of our cases where all the patient needed was a good polish.