Some people hate smiling with their teeth. It often has nothing to do with their faces, but a lot to do with their teethy. Teeth stains can become so noticeable that it’s distracting and this can reduce a person’s comfort-level with smiling with their teeth. Teeth staining can occur even if a person has good oral hygiene habits. Stains scream out at everyone, nestling along your gums, regardless of whatever tooth-whitening strategies you use. Stains can develop even if a person doesn’t smoke, drike black tea or vinegar, or coffee. For many people, stains are a huge and distracting puzzle. In this article, we will discuss the causes and treatments of intrinsic and extrinsic tooth stains.
Tooth stains refer to anything which alters the natural color and appearance of your teeth. Tooth stains can occur on either the tooth’s surface or below the enamel. If you’re particularly unlucky, you can develop both kinds of stains. Teeth stain at different rates, so some people will build up stains much more than others.
Types of Tooth Stains and Why They Occur
There are two types of stains; intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic stains are surface stains, whereas intrinsic stains occur below the enamel. Extrinsic stains are caused when stain particles -usually from drinks, food and smoking-, build up on the tooth’s enamel. Intrinsic stains occur when stain particles go beneath the enamel and accumulate within it.
Extrinsic stains are usually associated with pigmented drinks and food, such as black tea, coffee and wine. Intrinsic stains result from medication and poor oral hygiene. Excessive use of fluoride can cause intrinsic stains in children. In a few instances, a person can be born with intrinsic stains.
As we age, our teeth tend to darken. Darkening starts off around a person’s 30s and advances with each decade. This is because as we age the enamel wears away, revealing the darker dentin.
Treating Tooth Stains
Treating tooth stains is an important part of the job of a cosmetic dentist. Extrinsic stains are best treated with teeth whitening tools, using whitening gels, air abrasive powders, polishing, whitening mouth rinses, and even more abrasive tools such as whitening toothpaste and dental cleaning.
Intrinsic stains are harder to get rid off. They require the use of custom-fitted whitening trays and whitening gels. Using this technique, the whitening gel is brought into contact with the stained teeth for longer periods, allowing it to penetrate the enamel and get to the stains. Whitening intrinsic stains really demands the use of highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide.
Some people develop black tooth stains, which don’t seem to fit neatly into either category of tooth stain. Black tooth stains are a type of extrinsic staining known as black chromogenic staining. This is a result of iron found in a person’s saliva and is not very common. They can be treated with whitening gels, which are often very good at preventing staining for months at a time. Consult your dentist to find the right whitening gel for you. If your teeth are sensitive, your dentist will help you find a solution tailored to your needs.