Tooth discoloration can leave your smile looking tarnished, making you feel self-conscious about laughing, smiling, or speaking around others. Thankfully, there are many options for professional in-office and take-home teeth whitening that can enhance your smile and eliminate stains. When patients visit Dr. Clint Newman at his Nashville, TN dental practice, we can help them get the right kind of teeth whitening procedure for their needs.
Extrinsic dental stains are the most common kinds of stains that we treat. Let’s consider what causes them and what kinds of procedures can address this kind of discoloration.
What Are Extrinsic Dental Stains?
Extrinsic dental stains are a type of tooth discoloration that forms on the topmost layer of a person’s tooth. This means the enamel is the first part of the tooth to become discolored, spreading inward.
Extrinsic dental stains are the kinds of discoloration most people think of when they think of dental stains.
How Do These Compare to Intrinsic Dental Stains
By contrast, intrinsic dental stains are a type of discoloration that originates from within a tooth, spreading outward. These kinds of inner tooth stains are often caused by root canal infections, dental injuries, use of certain medications, fluoride overexposure, and genetics.
It is possible for teeth to be discolored as a result of intrinsic and extrinsic stains.
Common Causes of Extrinsic Dental Stains
Extrinsic dental stains form slowly from exposure to various kinds of substances. Some of the most common causes of extrinsic dental stains include the following:
- Tobacco products
- Soft drinks
Essentially, if it can stain a white shirt, a substance can also stain your teeth over time.
Treatments for Extrinsic Dental Stains
Cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry procedures can be used to help eliminate stains and discoloration. Some of the most common treatment options include:
- Teeth Whitening - Teeth whitening bleaches the topmost surface of the tooth. This helps the entire tooth appear brighter and whiter in the process.
- Dental Bonding - Dental bonding uses tooth-colored resin to conceal part of a tooth, hiding stains from view. This is ideal for serious stains that do not respond well to bleaching.
- Porcelain Veneers - Porcelain veneers are thin shells of dental ceramic that are adhered to the front portions of your teeth. When in place, the veneer blends in seamlessly with your tooth structure and looks pristine.
- Dental Crowns - A tooth-colored dental crown can be used to cap a tooth that is severely stained. This will involve the removal of the topmost layers of a tooth to accommodate the crown.
The severity of your tooth discoloration will determine the right kind treatment to use.
Extrinsic Dental Stain Prevention Tips
One of the best ways to keep your smile its brightest and whitest is to follow some simple dental care tips. This may include some of the following:
- Avoid tobacco products
- Use a drinking straw so liquids bypass the front teeth
- Hydrate primarily with water
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Floss every night
- Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups
Speak with an Experienced Cosmetic Dentist
For more information about treating dental stains and helping you have the whitest smile possible, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic dentist. We are here to help. You can reach our practice by phone at (615) 673-4780.