There are two types of tooth staining: intrinsic, which occurs below the enamel, and extrinsic, which occur on top.
Food, beverage, and lifestyle choices are often the primary causes of extrinsic stains with some of the biggest culprits being:
- Coffee and tea
- Red wine
- Soda and sports drinks
- Dark foods and sauces
Inadequate oral hygiene can also cause extrinsic stains.
Intrinsic stains are typically caused by antibiotic and fluoride use during childhood. These may appear as mottled areas of the teeth or ribbons of white underneath the enamel. Unlike extrinsic stains, topical whitening treatments may exacerbate internal staining, making it appear more discolored as enamel surrounding the stain is lightened.
How Are Tooth Stains Treated?
Extrinsic stains often respond well to improved at-home care in combination with professional teeth whitening. Brushing your teeth after every meal and snack, flossing twice daily, and visiting our office every six months can help prevent stains. Those that can’t be prevented can be treated with in-office whitening. At-home touch-ups can keep stains from coming back.
We provide customized application trays that help ensure consistent and comfortable whitening at home.
Intrinsic stains can’t be lightened, but they can be covered. Porcelain veneers, dental bonding, and dental crowns all serve as potential options for covering deep-set stains. These options are also often best for the discoloration caused by aging and may be necessary when treating stains caused by chewing, smoking, or vaping nicotine.
Tobacco use, even vaping, is linked to tenacious tooth staining. These stains might possibly respond to topical whiteners, but continued tobacco use will render in-office and at-home bleaching ineffective. Veneers, bonding, and crowns may help prevent stains from returning for a time, but these cosmetic options will also eventually stain and become discolored. With all of the other risks tobacco use poses, it is clear that the best option is to quit. The New York State Smokers Quitline offers support, services, and tools, many of them free, that can help you quit and stay quit. Visit their website for additional information and support.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you live in the Manhattan area and are looking at your tooth whitening options, call NYC Smile Design at 212-452-3344 and schedule your consultation today. Located in New York City, we serve all surrounding areas of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.