I am so confused about teeth stains. My teeth looked yellowish about five years ago so I went to my dentist. He gave me some bleaching trays that I used at home and it worked great. Now my daughter has some spots on her teeth and my dentist is saying that same kind of bleaching won’t work. I tried researching it up online and came away more confused. Can you please explain the different kinds of teeth stains?
Tracy in Kentucky
Let’s talk about different teeth stains and then your daughter’s situation. If you looked online at clinical dental pages you may have found words like intrisic or extrinsic teeth stains. Those don’t explain much unless you are in that field. Those are categories of teeth stains.
Extrinsic vs. intrinsic stains
Extrinsic stains are stains that are on the surface of the teeth or originated in the enamel of the teeth. Tobacco, coffee, dark-colored berries and wines, etc., are all substances that can cause extrinsic stains on the teeth with repeated exposure.
Intrisic stains are those that start on the inside of the tooth. Injuries or infections in the teeth, use of tetracycline as a child, and other conditions can cause intrinsic stains.
The biggest difference in these types of stains is how they can be treated. Extrinsic stains are ones that, in most cases, can best be treated with teeth whitening, as in your case. Intrinsic stains don’t respond to bleaching the same way and are typically best treated with bonding or veneers that cover the stains.
In the case of your daughter, the dentist may have thought the spots on her teeth are fluorosis. Fluorosis is a disorder caused by ingesting too much fluoride while the enamel on the teeth is forming. The fluoride may have been in dental products used at a young age, fluoride supplements, or just found in the drinking water.
This is an intrinsic stain. Unfortunately, bleaching teeth with fluorosis sometimes can make the spotting even worse, which could be why the dentist wouldn’t recommend it. As with other intrinsic stains, if you do choose to do bonding or veneers to treat the fluorosis, be sure to use a cosmetic dentist who can make sure the results look like her real teeth.
This post is sponsored by Angel Dental Care of Garfield Heights, Ohio.