Intrinsic and Extrinsic Tooth Discoloration

Did you know that there are different types of tooth stains? Extrinsic and intrinsic stain involve different areas of teeth. In most cases, Dr. Ann Kania and her professional staff can help you understand the cause of your tooth discoloration.

What Are the Differences Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Stains?

Extrinsic stains affect your tooth enamel. In this case, some staining may occur from foods and beverages that discolor your teeth such as coffee, wine, and soda. Smoking tobacco also contributes to discoloration of your teeth as well.

Intrinsic stains refer to the inner parts of your tooth. Intrinsic stains involve the dentin of your tooth. Dentin can darken or discolor with a yellow tint for various reasons. These stains can be caused by an overexposure to fluoride during childhood, root canal treatment, trauma to the tooth, childhood medication, or your mother may have used certain types of antibiotics while pregnant when your teeth were forming.

Age related discoloration may be a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors.  Tooth dentin will yellow over time.  This can make the tooth appear darker.  The enamel that covers the crown of your tooth will thin in time (like many other tissues in your body). Thin enamel and darkening dentin result in darker teeth.  In addition, teeth can be damaged or chipped.  Such trauma can irritate the pulp – causing darkening.  

If My Teeth Are Stained, What Should I Do?

If your teeth are stained, there are various solutions to improving the look of your smile.  Regular dental cleanings and proper daily oral hygiene can help prevent the formation of stains and can even remove some extrinsic dental stains.

Intrinsic tooth discoloration can be improved upon with internal and or external  bleaching.  Some people elect to have veneers or other restorations to cover the discolored tooth.

A thorough dental examination will help provide us with insight as to the reason your teeth are discolored. To schedule a dental exam with our Encinitas dentist office, contact us at (760) 642-0711. We serve patients in San Marcos, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Del Mar, and the surrounding San Diego communities.