All tooth stains and discoloration are not the same. There are plenty of sources of tooth stains, but it’s not so much what has caused the discoloration of your teeth as the type of stain you have that matters when it comes to identifying the best cosmetic dentistry solution.
Types of Tooth Stains
There are two types of tooth stains: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic tooth stains are found on the surface of the enamel and are typically caused by the foods you eat and drink. Over time, cola, wine, tea, dark foods or sauces, dark berries, and nicotine can tint the shade of your enamel, turning teeth yellow or brown or simply making them look dingy. The foods themselves, however, are not the direct cause of the tooth stains – the acids in the foods and drinks erode the tooth enamel, and this side effect is what makes it easier for teeth to become stained.
Intrinsic tooth stains occur within the tooth, which means they can’t be brushed from the enamel like food stains. Intrinsic discoloration is often caused by antibiotics or certain medications, tooth infections, an injury to the tooth, grinding your teeth, or fluoride overexposure. DNA also makes some people prone to thin tooth enamel which makes teeth look discolored or yellow. And, of course, there’s good old aging, which can thin the tooth enamel, resulting in plenty of undesirable side effects including discoloration but also breaking, chips, cracks, and more.
You can help prevent extrinsic tooth stains from sticking around by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once daily, dislodging plaque and bacteria. Your teeth will benefit even more if you brush and floss as soon as possible after ingesting a dark or staining food. Keeping your bi-annual preventive care appointments at the dentist for a professional cleaning also keeps teeth in bright, white tip-top shape. Intrinsic tooth stains are difficult to prevent, and once they occur they are impossible to brush or whiten away. A more involved cosmetic dentistry solution will be necessary to get teeth looking white and clean again.
Solutions for Tooth Stains
There are typically two common cosmetic dentistry solutions for tooth stains. When the discoloration is extrinsic, teeth whitening is a no-brainer. A one-hour professional teeth whitening treatment will give you an amazingly bright smile, and your teeth don’t even have to be perfect to benefit from whitening. A few crooked teeth or gaps won’t matter when your smile is brilliantly white.
If your tooth stains are intrinsic, then your Manhattan cosmetic dentist is more likely to recommend a solution like porcelain veneers. Veneers not only cover up your discolored teeth, they correct a host of other problems, including the size, shape, or length of your teeth, as well as cracks, chips, or gaps. Veneers are one of the most versatile and smile-altering cosmetic dentistry treatments. That’s why the celebs love veneers so much!
Find out which smile makeover solution is right for you. Contact the Manhattan dental office of Dr. Michael J. Wei to make an appointment and discuss your dental concerns.