Tooth stains can be identified into two main categories:
refers to staining on the surface of the tooth. It occurs when stain particles, such as pigmented residue from food or drink adhere to the surface of the tooht. Extrinsic tooth stains are typically caused by tobacco use or by regularly drinking coffee and tea, wine or cola drinks. This type of tooth stain responds well to regular dental cleaning and polishing.
refers to staining below the surface of the tooth. It can occur when stain-causing particles accumulate within the tooth enamel. Excessive fluoride use has been associated with intrinsic staining, especially in children as well as trauma in early childhood (a fall or knock to the baby tooth can affect the developing permanent tooth). Some medications including Tetracycline antibiotics have also been linked to a discolouration of teeth. An intrinsic tooth stain is trickier to remove, but it can be done. An intrinsic tooth stain may require tooth whitening using professional or at-home teeth-whitening products.
It is possible to have a combination of both extrinsic and intrinsic staining. For example, age-related stains. As a person ages, the enamel layer does get thinner which allows the dentine (core) of the tooth to shine through. This same person could also be a heavy coffee drinker which will exacerbate the staining.
To know how to remove a tooth stain, you must know what type of stain you are dealing with. Our dental hygienists are professionals at assessing stains and informing you of your treatment options to improve your situation. It might be a simple Scale and Clean or some Teeth Whitening – or a combination of both. At Carnegie Dental Group, we also have access to Air-Polishing technology which may aid in the removal of surface stains. Some patients just want to know if their teeth are “White” enough. This question is very subjective but what we can do is measure the shade of your teeth accordingly to our “shade guide” which will give you an idea of where you sit on the scale. You might be surprised at how much whiter your teeth could be!