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Stumped by Stains? 3 Ways Your Dentist Can Brighten Your Smile

May 7, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — S. John salivonchik @ 3:06 pm
Nose-to-chin closeup of a smile before and after whitening

Do you have stubborn stains on your teeth that you can’t seem to brush away? You’re not alone. These aesthetic concerns are incredibly common, and it’s natural to feel self-conscious or worry about how others will perceive you. If you’ve tried over-the-counter solutions that haven’t helped, the next best step is to contact your dentist for a consultation. Believe it or not, there are several types of stains, and they can recommend appropriate treatments once they’ve completed your oral examination.

Continue reading to learn more about the kinds of discoloration and how your dentist can address them!

Type #1: Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic stains exist on the outermost layer of your teeth. They typically occur when pigmented particles from the foods you eat stick to the surface, like when you drink coffee, tea, wine, or dark sodas. Smoking can also leave them more yellow or brown than white.

These surface issues can often be corrected by cleaning your mouth more thoroughly. Brushing and flossing twice daily removes plaque residue, so dark foods have nothing to cling to. You can also ask your dentist about professional teeth whitening. Many providers can perform this service in the office, while others offer take-home kits complete with a high-quality gel and customized trays. That way, you can lighten your teeth by up to 10 shades from the comfort of your home.

Type #2:  Intrinsic Stains

If you’ve tried over-the-counter whitening products, but they haven’t seemed to impact your tinted teeth at all, you might be dealing with intrinsic stains. This type of discoloration exists below the surface, so bleaching won’t affect them.  

There are several potential causes behind these blemishes, like over-exposure to fluoride as a child, genetics, and some prescription medications. Your dentist can gently polish your tooth to remove some of the enamel to even out the tone. They might also suggest another cosmetic fix, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding, to cover the issue.

Type #3: Age-Related Stains

Did you know that your teeth are not pure white? The enamel is a bright bluish-white and is somewhat translucent, which gives them their pearly appearance. The underlying layer of dentin is yellow but usually isn’t visible. As you age, however, the protective enamel thins to reveal more of the darker shade beneath. That means your grin naturally starts to look more tinted later in life.

Depending on your dental status, your dentist might recommend veneers or dental bonding to mask the issue. If your teeth are damaged in addition to being discolored, an extraction and replacement might be required instead.

As you can see, there are many ways to mask the different kinds of stains. Contact your dentist today, and soon, you could have a sparkling grin to show for it!

About the Author

Dr. S. John Salivonchik has spent more than 20 years helping his patients upgrade their smiles to improve their daily quality of life. He began his education at Muhlenberg College, then completed his Doctor of Dental Medicine at Temple Dental School. He strives to provide the most current and advanced treatments possible, so he continues to build his skills with ongoing training and seminars. He utilizes state-of-the-art technology to provide more comfortable, accurate treatments in a friendly and welcoming environment. If your teeth are discolored and you’d like a consultation, you can request an appointment on the website or call (610) 502-1545.

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