There are various types of stains on teeth, and there are different ways to prevent them and to remove them.
The three types of tooth stains:
- There are superficial stains that exist only on the surface of the teeth. Ordinary toothpastes will remove most of these. If they are more tenacious, they may need to be removed by a professional cleaning or with a stain-dissolving toothpaste such as Supersmile whitening toothpaste. When you see advertising claims for whitening toothpastes, these are the types of stains they remove.
- There are embedded stains that have soaked into the teeth. The two worst kinds of these are tobacco stains and coffee stains. They can become quite pronounced. After a lifetime of smoking, your teeth can become a serious shade of brown. Toothpastes and professional cleanings won’t remove these. These require a professional tooth whitening treatment. For these treatments, a peroxide gel is allowed to soak into your teeth for a period of time. The gel releases oxygen inside your tooth, which chemically bleaches the stain and eliminates it.
- There are structural stains that are present from when the tooth was formed. All teeth have some degree of intrinsic color, and there are genetic variations of varying amounts of color that people have, the same as with skin color. So some people have teeth that are just naturally yellow or gray. In addition, there is a particularly nasty gray-brown color that is the result of taking the antibiotic tetracycline while your teeth are forming. These tetracycline stains are made a part of the structure of your tooth and are very difficult to bleach out.
Another structural stain is fluorosis teeth stain. This is caused by consuming too much fluoride, and results in white or brown spotting. This can’t be treated by bleaching—the stains need to be covered with direct dental bonding or porcelain veneers.
If your teeth are genetically a little on the dark side, tooth bleaching will still whiten them. You can also bleach tetracycline stains, but since they are so intense, you will not likely reach a really white tooth by bleaching alone and will have to cover them with porcelain veneers or another type of treatment.
Click here to go to our stained teeth page, where we index the information we have in this site on this subject.
This information is provided for you by the mynewsmile.com cosmetic dentist referral service, and was personally written by Dr. David Hall. If you would like to be referred to a cosmetic dentist who could help you with your teeth stains, please see our cosmetic dentist referral page.
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