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Types of Tooth Stains and Why They Occur

Shades of EnamelThere are three main reasons why teeth become discolored or stained. This occurs either by stains inside the tooth, stains on the surface of the teeth, or as a natural part of getting older. Below are the three common reasons for tooth discoloration: 

  • Extrinsic Stains – Extrinsic stains occur on the outermost layer of the tooth, which is also known as the enamel. Extrinsic stains are the result of food and beverages that stain the teeth, including coffee, dark soda, tobacco, and red wine. 
  • Intrinsic Stains – Intrinsic stains occur when the inside of the tooth, which is also called the dentin, begins to yellow or otherwise darken over time. These stains can happen if:
    • You ingested too much fluoride in early childhood 
    • You took tetracycline in early childhood 
    • You suffer from dentinogenesis imperfecta 
    • Internal bleeding occurs inside the tooth 
    • Trauma occurred to the tooth during its development 
  • Natural Staining – Age-related stains are the result of both extrinsic and intrinsic stains together over time. Dentin naturally yellows and enamel also wear down over time. This allows the yellow of the dentin to become more visible through the enamel. 

Some stains can be removed at our office, especially extrinsic stains which are fairly simple to remove. Unfortunately, many types of stains are permanent. In these cases, you can either undergo professional tooth whitening or choose crowns or veneers to whiten and brighten your smile. 

The best way to prevent stains is to brush and floss every day and rinse your mouth with water after consuming foods or beverages that can stain your teeth. In addition, make sure to visit our Severance, Colorado family dental office for checkups and cleanings every 6 months. To make your appointment, please contact Severance Dental today!

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