Stains on the Teeth

Tooth staining, also known as tooth discoloration, is the result of pigment particles being absorbed by the tooth. While teeth stains are a common occurrence, they can certainly affect our self confidence, as our smile is the first thing most people see. Fortunately, teeth stains are mostly cosmetic nuisances that can be remedied.

The Different Types of Teeth Stains

Teeth stains fall into two categories, extrinsic and intrinsic stains.

Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic tooth stains originate on the surface of our teeth, leading to discoloration of the enamel. Extrinsic stains are most often caused by food and drink particles that build up in the proteins that cover our tooth enamel.

Because extrinsic stains don’t move below the tooth enamel into the dentin layer, they can usually be removed with regular visits to the dentist, as well as with at-home teeth whitening toothpastes and rinses.

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic tooth stains reach beneath the surface of the tooth. They form when particles work through the outer layer of the tooth, making their way to the dentin later, which sits below the enamel.

Intrinsic stains can also develop naturally during infancy due to a high fever or due to some medications.

These stains are more difficult to remove than extrinsic stains. While at-home products such as teeth whitening strips can help, complete removal will often require in-office tooth whitening by your dentist.

What Causes Teeth Stains?

There are a number of reasons teeth can become discolored. A few of the most common causes for teeth stains are:

  • Dark-Colored Beverages

    The biggest culinary culprits of teeth stains are darkly pigmented drinks such as coffee, tea, and red wine. When drinking cold beverages of this nature, consider using a straw to keep the liquid away from your teeth. You can also rinse your mouth with water after consumption to remove particles from the surface of your teeth.

  • Tobacco Use

    Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are known to discolor teeth, in addition to causing other health concerns

  • Poor dental hygiene

    Regular brushing and flossing are the key to removing stain-inducing particles from our teeth. If food and drink particles sit too long on the surface of our teeth, they can make their way into the enamel, making it more difficult to remove stains.

  • Medications

    There are a number of medical treatments and medications that can cause tooth discoloration, including high blood pressure medication, chemotherapy, and regular use of antihistamines.

  • Developmental Diseases

    Some childhood diseases can prevent normal tooth enamel development, which can lead to discoloration over time.

How to Get Rid of Stains On Your Teeth

If you’re ready to boost the shade of your smile, there are a number of remedies for teeth discoloration.

At-Home Solutions

At-home whitening works best for extrinsic stains. They might help with deeper, intrinsic stains if the products include hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

At-home solutions include:

  • Whitening toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Teeth whitening gel
  • Teeth whitening strips
  • Whitening pen

Professional Teeth Whitening

Regular visits to your dentist for cleanings will resolve most extrinsic stains. Deeper, intrinsic stains can be conquered with professional, in-office whitening. Professional whitening provides optimum results in less time.

Icon Treatment

Icon dental treatment is a professional teeth whitening procedure conducted at CNS Dental that can remove stained spots on the tooth enamel. It is a minimally invasive, pain-free, needle-free process that will provide you with more even coloring across the surface of your tooth.

Teeth Whitening in Arlington, VA

CNS Dental is a family dentistry practice serving Arlington, Virginia and the greater D.C. metro area. If you’d like to discuss options for a brighter, more beautiful smile, give us a call or book an appointment online today.