Why Do My Teeth Stain?
What can you do about my stained teeth?
One reason that patients will visit a cosmetic dentist is to correct tooth discoloration. At Chattanooga Family Dentistry, we offer a variety of treatments for tooth discoloration. Determining the best course of treatment for you is dependent upon your personal needs and goals.
Is all tooth staining the same?
No, not all tooth discoloration is the same. There are two separate types of tooth staining: Intrinsic stain and Extrinsic stain. Intrinsic and extrinsic stain come from very different sources and require different types of treatment.
Causes of Extrinsic Staining and Treatment
Extrinsic staining is the most common type of tooth discoloration. Extrinsic stain is any stain on the outside of the dental enamel. You probably are already familiar with many of the causes: coffee, tea, red wine, soda, dark colored fruits or beverages. In fact, if your teeth are extrinsically stained, you probably even know what has caused it in your particular situation. What you may not know, however, is that in addition to the many dark drinks and foods that can cause staining of the enamel, highly acidic foods and beverages (such as lemons, oranges, vinegar, etc.) can also cause yellowing of teeth due to the acid erosion of the enamel.
Thankfully, the most common type of tooth discoloration, is also the simplest type to treat. Most of the time, extrinsic stain can be effectively removed or treated with whitening toothpaste or mouthwash and a dental cleaning every six months. More persistent tooth discoloration can normally be improved with in-office treatments such as Zoom! Whitening or at home treatments using whitening gel that is placed a custom fitted tray made in our office.
Causes of Intrinsic Staining and Treatment
Both the cause and treatment of intrinsic tooth staining are more complicated. Intrinsic tooth stains are stains that occur beneath the hard outer enamel layer of the tooth, and instead occur in the next layer, which is called dentin. This type of stain can be caused by aging, medications, nerve damage, dental trauma and injury, or overexposure to minerals such as fluoride from a young age. Intrinsic staining can occasionally still be treated through in-office or take-home whitening, due to the recent advancements in this area. The process may be more involved and require several more treatments than when treating extrinsic stain.
In most cases of more severe intrinsic staining, traditional teeth whitening treatments may be insufficient. If this is the case, Dr. Lunn may recommend a different approach such as porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns to give you the bright, white smile that you desire.
You have a lot of options for brightening your smile with cosmetic dentistry. Even if you think your teeth are beyond repair, we can explain your options to you to give you the bright, white smile that you have always dreamed of.
To learn more, contact Chattanooga Family Dentistry and schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Lunn.