One of the requisites for having a great smile is the whiteness of your teeth. Regardless of how straight the alignment of your teeth might be, your smile can still hardly make heads turn unless your pearly whites are really white. Before you can explore the different ways that you can whiten your teeth back to their original shade, it’s important that you first find out the different ways that you can stain your teeth.

What are the different types of dental stains?

There are two types of dental stains — extrinsic and intrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains are those which are isolated only to the dental enamel of your teeth. On the other hand, intrinsic stains are those which are found in the deeper layers of teeth such as the dentin.

Intrinsic stains. Stains isolated to the dental enamel layer of teeth are usually due to your eating and drinking habits. Your consumption of highly pigmented items such as coffee, wine, blueberries and cherries can cause these edibles to lend their color to the dental enamel layer of your teeth. Compared to extrinsic stains, intrinsic stains are easier to treat and can be corrected with the help of routine dental whitening procedures.

Extrinsic stains. Stains which have already gone to the deeper layers of your teeth are due to more complicated reasons such as the exposure of your teeth to certain medications, use of dental materials and aging. The use of such drugs as tetracycline and doxycycline are known to stain teeth and can even lead to the damage of teeth in severe instances. On the other hand, teeth which have been treated with dental amalgam that contains sulfur often develop a grayish color. Lastly, aging can lead to the yellowing of the dentin layer that can show through the translucent enamel layer.

How can dental stains be treated?

Intrinsic stains can be treated with the help of routine in-office dental whitening procedure, through the interaction of hydrogen peroxide with the dental enamel layer of your teeth. This procedure is done in your dentist’s office and the results can be seen immediately after the treatment. On the other hand, deeper dental stains require the concealment of the enamel layer. This can be done through porcelain veneers or through dental bonding. The reason for why dental whitening cannot sufficiently remove internal stains is because the intense interaction of the hydrogen peroxide can dissolve the dental enamel of your teeth.

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