When most people think of teeth whitening, they think of the end results of beautiful, pearly white teeth that’ll look good in any photo. Many patients get teeth whitenings to improve the look of their smile, opting to even practice teeth whitening at home for the most current, manageable results. However, not many people ask what causes tooth stains, whether or not teeth whitening is harmful to teeth, and how teeth whitening treatments treat stains.
The Two Types of Teeth Stains
In cosmetic dentistry, two types of teeth stains exist. Both stains have various differences between them, which include:
Intrinsic stains – These stains occur below the surface of the tooth’s enamel, deeply embedded and affect the teeth from the inside, and usually appear gray to brown. These stains are typically caused by:
- Aging: As we get older, the outer layer of enamel wears down and reveals the natural yellow color of the dentin. Hard brushing and grinding can also cause the enamel to wear down and make the appearance of teeth darken.
- Medications: Certain antibiotics, such as doxycycline and tetracycline, can discolor teeth in children. Other drugs, such s antihypertensive medications, antipsychotic drugs, and antihistamines, can cause the teeth to discolor.
- Tooth Infections/Decay: When the tissues in and surrounding the teeth begin to decay or have infections, the whole tooth can discolor as a result.
- Tooth Trauma: Nerve damage can also cause them to discolor.
Extrinsic stains – These stains exist on the surface of the tooth, above the enamel. These stains are the most common stains people experience and are generally caused by what you put into your mouth, which can include:
- Tobacco Products
- Red Wine
- Dark Sodas
- Tomato Sauce
- Berries, such as Blueberries
While extrinsic stains appear darker, these stains are easier to remove.
How to Treat Teeth Stains
For extrinsic stains, normal teeth whitening procedures will be able to completely remove the discoloration of the teeth in a matter of an hour, whether done at home or at the dentist. Intrinsic stains, on the other hand, do not have the capacity to be removed by teeth whitening treatments, and thus will benefit from more permanent solutions such as veneers, fillings, and dental implants. While cosmetic dentistry benefits from teeth whitening procedures, the choice to have a teeth whitening procedure depends entirely on how you envision your smile and isn’t required to maintain healthy teeth if the stains are extrinsic.
At Dr. Patrick O’Malley’s office, you’ll know whether or not your teeth stains require treatment. Sabal General Dentistry focuses entirely on the patient experience as Dr. O’Malley’s team of highly professional dentists, and staff members will help educate you on the in’s and out’s of your teeth and gums. Located in Rockdale, TX, Sabal General Dentistry hopes to always give their paitients a positive experience with each visit. If you’re wondering about the stains on your teeth and are worried, then contact Dr. O’Malley today to schedule a dental appointment.