Understanding Different Types of Tooth Discoloration

Patients often ask about teeth whitening procedures in Lake Stevens, WA. They wish to invest in whiter and brighter teeth, but they may not understand why their teeth have darkened or discolored in the first place. There are two types of stains, extrinsic and intrinsic, and both have their ways of causing tooth discolorations and the need for teeth whitening. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of tooth discoloration. teeth - stains

Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic stains are also referred to as superficial stains, meaning they occur on the surface of the tooth. Certain stains, such as yellowing and mild brown spots, may occur due to the consumption of various staining products. Coffee, wine, tobacco, and certain fruits can cause extrinsic staining. These types of stains can be minimized or erased with professional teeth whitening and teeth whitening toothpastes.

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic stains occur below the surface of the teeth, also known as dentin. These stains are not easily diminished by teeth whitening products, and they are usually indicative of a larger problem. Some brown spots that occur deep into the tooth might be a result of an injury, excessive fluoride consumption, or tooth decay. If these stains cannot be erased with teeth whitening, then dental veneers are another option.

Yellow Teeth

Yellowing teeth are a normal part of life; teeth will yellow and darken as they age. The yellowing may also be a result of bruxism, also known as chronic teeth grinding. Over the years, the dentin layer of the teeth continually thickens, which results in yellowing teeth. When stress is put on the teeth, from grinding, then the dentin responds by forming more quickly.

White Spots

When white spots are found on a tooth’s surface, it usually indicates the beginning stages of tooth decay. The white spot may look dull and etched, especially compared to the rest of the tooth. The enamel is being demineralized from bacteria and acid, which will eventually cause a cavity. The white spots can also pick up extrinsic stains from coffee, tobacco, and other staining products.

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