Not All Dental Stains Are The Same

Depending upon the type and extent of your dental staining, treatment options vary from simply brushing your teeth with a whitening toothpaste, to cosmetic dentistry procedures. While most tooth stains are caused by smoking and pigmented foods and drinks, there are other causes.

Not All Dental Stains Are The Same

If you want to learn how you can improve your smile and eliminate the stains on your teeth, or simply learn more about a general dentistry huntington station ny has plenty of resources and dental professionals who can provide you with the information you need. Here are some causes and common treatment options for different types of dental stains.


Some people will develop stained teeth at a very early age. This is typically the result of the maternal use of certain medications, most notably, the antibiotic known as tetracycline. If your mother took tetracycline for a bacterial infection while you were in utero, your permanent teeth may have developed with a gray or brown tint to them.

This type of dental staining is known as intrinsic staining, and generally affects the entire tooth. Sometimes, however, intrinsic staining will manifest as discolored lines or splotches on the teeth. Whitening treatments such as bleaching strips or laser treatments do little to brighten the appearance of intrinsic staining because the stains are deep inside the enamel.

For these types of stains, camouflaging them is a more reasonable option. Your dentist may recommend porcelain veneers, which are custom-made covers that are applied to the front of your teeth to hide stains and other imperfections.


The most common type of tooth staining is superficial staining, also known as extrinsic dental staining. These types of stains are typically caused by coffee, tea, red wine, cherries, and smoking, and affect the exterior, rather than the interior, structure of your teeth.

Home bleaching trays, strips, and whitening toothpastes do a good job in eliminating extrinsic stains, as do professional bleaching therapies such as laser whitening. While a professional bleaching treatment can make your teeth many shades whiter, you still have limit your consumption of highly pigmented foods and refrain from cigarette smoking if you want to avoid re-staining of your enamel.

Drug Staining

If you take liquid iron medication, you may be at high risk for developing deep stains. Iron, or ferrous sulfate, can damage your tooth enamel, and because of this, the liquid iron should be well-diluted with water. In addition, drinking the liquid iron through a straw will help minimize its contact with your teeth.

If your teeth become stained as a result of liquid iron, ask your doctor if you can switch to iron tablets. It is thought that iron is better absorbed as a liquid. If you have problems with nutrient absorption or if you are severely anemic, your doctor may recommend liquid iron. Bleaching treatments may help brighten teeth that are stained as a result of liquid iron, however, the results may not be dramatic. Resin veneers or bonding may produce a better aesthetic result.

If you want more information about treatments for stained teeth, or to simply get a checkup, make an appointment with your general dentist.

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