Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Tooth Stains: Your Teeth Know the Difference By Jose Valenzuela on July 31, 2018

A stained set of teethHaving a bright and white smile is easier said that done. So many substances can cause tooth discoloration and stains, and they may be hard to avoid. Thankfully our Los Algodones, Baja California cosmetic dentistry practice offers comprehensive treatment options designed to address tooth discoloration and stains.

There are, generally speaking, two kinds of dental stains. Let’s take a moment to compare extrinsic dental stains and intrinsic dental stains.

About Extrinsic Tooth Stains

Extrinsic tooth stains are stains that occur on the surface layer of the teeth. Food, beverages, and other substances wind up staining the color of your tooth enamel, resulting in a dingy, darker, smile. Usually extrinsic tooth stains appear yellow or brown in color.

Causes of Extrinsic Tooth Stains

The most common causes of extrinsic tooth stains include:

  • Cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Wine
  • Soft drinks
  • Tomatoes
  • Curries
  • Beets
  • Berries
  • Carrots

A good rule of thumb is that if it can stain a white sheet, the substance can probably also stain your teeth.

Treatments for Extrinsic Tooth Stains

To treat extrinsic tooth stains, the following treatments are most common:

  • Teeth Whitening - Teeth whitening is a process in which the tooth enamel is bleached with a whitening agent. This eliminates the stain, allowing you smile to look bright and clean again. A single professional teeth whitening session may be able to brighten your smile by several shades.
  • Dental Bonding - Dental bonding refers to the use of tooth-colored dental resin that is painted directly onto your teeth. This dental resin conceals flaws underneath, allowing your smile to look pristine.
  • Porcelain Veneers - Porcelain venters are thin shells of dental ceramic that are adhered to the front of a tooth. With a porcelain veneer in place, the stain is completely masked and hidden from view, giving your smile a natural appearance.

About Intrinsic Tooth Stains

Intrinsic tooth stains are stains that originate from within a tooth. These kinds of discoloration are usually the result of injuries to a tooth or other issues that do not involve external exposure to stain-causing substances.

Causes of Intrinsic Tooth Stains

Some of the most common causes of intrinsic tooth stains include:

  • Trauma to a tooth
  • Excessive fluoride exposure
  • Overuse of tetracycline and other antibiotics
  • Genetics and family history

Treatments for Intrinsic Tooth Stains

Topical bleaching will not be able to treat intrinsic stains, so other kinds of dental treatments are more viable. These include:

  • Dental Bonding - By painting a tooth-colored resin over a stained tooth, the discolored inner material can be hidden from view. This is ideal for minor intrinsic stains.
  • Porcelain Veneers - The concealing nature of porcelain veneers proves essential for treating intrinsic stains. With a porcelain veneer in place, the discord tooth structure is difficult to notice, and the surface of the tooth looks totally natural.
  • Dental Crowns - For major stains, the most ideal option may be a dental crown. Dental crowns are caps that fit over a tooth, protecting it from harm and improving the appearance in the process. A porcelain crown may be just right for a major intrinsic stain.

Contact Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry Center

For more information about tooth discoloration and how it can be treated and prevented, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center. We look forward to your visit and discussing your treatment options in greater detail.

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Dr. Valenzuela

Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry Center

The Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry Center in Los Algodones offers patients in the Southern California and Western Arizona area state-of-the-art dental work at our modern, inviting, and comfortable dental office. Dr. Valenzuela is a member of multiple prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • American Dental Association
  • International Congress of Oral Implantologists
  • American Academy of Implant Dentistry

Contact us online or call (928) 792-2156 to schedule an appointment today.

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