When we think of tooth stains, we often consider the common discoloration that happens over time from tobacco use or consuming dark colored foods and drinks, such as coffee, red wine or berries. This are the most common type of tooth stains, known as extrinsic stains. However, not all dental discolorations occur on the outside of the tooth. There is another type of tooth staining, called intrinsic staining. These occur from within the tooth and affect the inner dentin layer as opposed to the enamel or outer layer of the tooth.
How can a tooth show discoloration from inside? There are several reasons why the inner dentin layer of a tooth becomes brown or yellow and inevitably affects the way the tooth looks on the outside. Compared to extrinsic staining, intrinsic staining is not always in your control. The following are the most common causes of intrinsic tooth stains:
- Certain medications (tetracycline, etc)
- Excessive fluoride (fluorosis)
- Oral trauma (when blood from a damaged pulp fills the small tubes inside the tooth)
The Good News and Bad News About Treating Intrinsic Tooth Stains
Unfortunately, intrinsic staining does not respond to teeth whitening treatment like extrinsic stains. This means that your efforts and investments in whitening kits, whitening toothpaste or bleaching treatments may all be in vain. Don’t worry – this does NOT mean you are stuck with your stained or dingy smile.
Intrinsic tooth stains can be treated. Instead of eliminating the stain, cosmetic dentistry offers options to “cover up” the discoloration. Patients may choose porcelain veneers, dental crowns or dental bonding depending on the severity of the stains and how many teeth are affected. These are excellent solutions that can give you permanent white teeth and a confident smile going forward.
Are you embarrassed by a single stained tooth? Or perhaps your smile is just dingy or yellow in general? We can help at the office of Mitzi Morris, DMD. We can quickly determine whether your stains are intrinsic or extrinsic and provide an effective treatment option to give you the white smile you are looking for. Be sure to schedule your consult with a talented cosmetic dentist in Roswell.