Tooth stains represent some of the most common cosmetic complaints we hear at The Center for Dental Excellence. Dr. Gordon Bell and our team receive a wide range of questions pertaining to tooth stain causes and treatments. Read on as we answer the most common questions.
What are the leading causes of tooth stains?
- Consuming certain foods and beverages
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- Use of certain medications (including tetracycline)
- Excessive use of fluoride
- Dental trauma
What foods and beverages are known to cause tooth stains?
Brightly-colored foods such as berries and tomato sauce are likely to cause stains in the teeth. Dark-colored drinks such as coffee, tea, colas and red wine can also stain teeth.
What is an extrinsic stain versus an intrinsic stain?
An extrinsic stain affects the surface layer of tooth structure (enamel). Extrinsic stains are much more common than intrinsic stains, which affect the inner layer of tooth structure (dentin).
Extrinsic stains are commonly caused by the consumption of certain foods and beverages, whereas intrinsic stains develop from the use of certain medications or dental trauma.
Do braces cause tooth stains?
The braces themselves do not cause stains. However, it is common to notice some discoloration once braces are removed. Braces make it more difficult to brush and floss; as a result, plaque and tartar can build up in the nooks and crannies between the teeth and hardware of the braces. This type of buildup can lead to stains.
How are tooth stains treated?
Teeth whitening is one of the most effective and predictable ways to treat tooth stains. During professional whitening, a special bleaching agent is applied to the teeth and activated with a light to lift stains and treat discoloration.
Stains that do not respond to teeth whitening can be covered up with the placement of porcelain veneers or dental bonding treatment.
How long do the results of teeth whitening last?
The longevity of the results depends on factors such as the specific type of whitener used and the lifestyle choices you make. Teeth whitening treats existing stains but does not prevent new ones from forming.
How can I prevent tooth stains in the future?
To keep teeth stain-free, refrain from eating and drinking excessive amounts of coffee, tea, red wine, colas or brightly colored foods. If you enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, drink through a straw to minimize contact between the beverage and your teeth.
You should also be diligent about your at-home oral health care. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once daily. And, visit our team at least twice a year for check-ups and professional cleanings.
Contact The Center for Dental Excellence
To learn more about why tooth stains develop and how you can treat them with professional whitening, contact The Center for Dental Excellence today.