Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Tooth Stains By Louis Buono on November 03, 2018

Before and after teeth whitening for stains smilesMany patients come to see Long Island, NY dentist Dr. Louis J. Buono to get rid of tooth stains and discoloration. Brightening and cleaning up the appearance of your smile can work wonders for your self-esteem, so it’s no surprise that many cosmetic dentistry procedures are designed to whiten teeth and bleach dental stains.

Not all stains art the same, however. There are generally two kinds of tooth discoloration: intrinsic and extrinsic. The team at Garden City Smiles would like to go over the differences of these types of dental stains, and what can be done to treat them.

What Are Extrinsic Dental Stains?

Extrinsic dental stains are the type of stains that you are most familiar with. These stains are stains that develop on the surface of the teeth. They can develop over a long period of time due to exposure to various substances.

Common Causes of Extrinsic Dental Stains

Some of the most common causes of extrinsic dental stains include:

  • Cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Wine
  • Soda
  • Fruit juice
  • Beets
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • The natural aging process

In essence, anything that can stain a white shirt can also lead to extrinsic dental stains.

Treatments for Extrinsic Dental Stains

To treat extrinsic dental stains, there are a few common options to consider:

  • Teeth Whitening - Teeth whitening treatment helps bleach the discolored tooth structure, allowing your smile to look its brightest. A few teeth whitening sessions may be needed to achieve final results.
  • Dental Bonding - Dental bonding uses tooth-colored resin to paint over the discoloration, leaving your smile looking pristine. A dentist can custom match the dental resin to your teeth.
  • Porcelain Veneers - Porcelain veneers are thin shells of dental ceramic that are affixed to the fronts of the teeth. When in place, they mask imperfections such as stains from view.

What Are Intrinsic Dental Stains?

Intrinsic dental stains are stains that develop inside of the tooth’s other structure. This discoloration is not the result of topical substances but various issues that are related to dental health, environmental factors, and even your genetics.

Common Causes of Intrinsic Dental Stains

Some of the most common causes of intrinsic dental stains include:

  • Severe tooth decay
  • Injuries to the teeth
  • Root canal infections
  • Weakened tooth enamel
  • Overexposure to fluoride
  • Use of tetracycline as a child
  • Genetic conditions affect tooth color

Treatments for Intrinsic Dental Stains

Since the stains develop within the tooth structure, teeth whitening is not an effective treatment for intrinsic stains. The most ideal treatments for intrinsic stains are as follows:

  • Dental Bonding - Painting over the stains with tooth-colored dental resin can achieve excellent results when it comes to intrinsic dental stains.
  • Porcelain Veneers - The masking effect of porcelain veneers is so effective that it can block out the appearance of discoloration when people suffer from intrinsic stains.
  • Dental Crowns - Crown are caps that are used to cover a tooth. They come in tooth-colored form and look a lot like natural tooth structure. Generally, they are used as restorations but they do have cosmetic uses as well.

Learn More About Treating Dental Stains

To learn more about treating tooth stains and keeping your smile looking its whitest, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist. The entire team at Garden City Smiles is here to help. You can reach the practice by phone at (516) 294-0375.

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Louis J. Buono, DDS

Garden City Smiles Louis J. Buono, DDS

Dr. Buono has been providing leading smile care to his patients in Garden City and Long Island for over 30 years. He is proud to be affiliated with: 

  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry 

You can request a consultation with our dentist by filling out our online form or calling (516) 294-0375.

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"I have been going to Dr. Buono for about 6 years and he’s great. His pricing fit my budget and my teeth can not look any better." Isabella

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