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Are The Stains on My Teeth Permanent?

Dental stains can affect your self-esteem and make you want to cover your less-than-pearly whites. While many tooth stains you see reside on the surface of your teeth, other discoloration can come from deeper within your tooth.

At Dental Studios in Summit and Westfield, New Jersey, many of our patients with stained teeth wonder if the discoloration they see is permanent or temporary. To answer this question, we asked our dentists, Daniel Butensky, DMD, and Stephen T. Busby, DDS, to explain dental stains and how professional teeth whitening and other cosmetic dentistry services can help.

Understanding dental stains

The discoloration commonly referred to as a “stain” may be caused by a temporary staining or buildup on the surface of your teeth, or it might be the result of changes in your tooth itself. Sometimes, both factors contribute to dull-looking teeth. Here’s a look at the three main kinds of tooth discoloration and whether they’re permanent.

Extrinsic dental stains

When something discolors or stains the surface of your tooth, it’s called an extrinsic dental stain. Common causes of extrinsic stains include pigmented food or beverages like berries and coffee, the buildup of plaque, and tobacco use. 

These stains can usually be reversed with regular dental cleanings or by brushing your teeth using a toothpaste with whitening power. The stains come back, however, if plaque builds again or you continue to use the products that stained your teeth in the first place. 

Intrinsic dental stains

This type of dental stain occurs due to an issue below the surface of your teeth. Sometimes the pigments or particles that cause extrinsic stains break through the surface and get into your tooth’s enamel. Other causes of intrinsic stains include:

  • Excessive fluoride use
  • Certain medications
  • Trauma or dental injury  

These types of dental stains are more difficult to get rid of than extrinsic stains. Brushing and cleaning alone can rarely remove them completely. If you have intrinsic dental stains, you should seek professional treatment at Dental Studios. In-office or at-home tooth whitening can help, as can other treatments, like veneers.  

Age-related dental stains

Your teeth naturally get more yellow as you age. In addition, the protective enamel that covers your teeth gets thinner, making it easier for particles to get below the surface and for underlying issues to show through. 

As such, age-related dental stains are a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic stains. Most age-related stains respond well to professional in-office or at-home dental whitening treatments. 

Options for eradicating dental stains

At Dental Studios, we know one treatment for dental stains doesn’t fit all. That’s why we offer different ways to whiten your teeth and get you the smile you’ve been dreaming of.

Laser whitening treatments

Our providers use a cutting-edge laser whitening treatment system. With our in-office whitening, your teeth can be whitened by up to eight shades after just one visit, though individual results may vary.  

First, we fit your upper and lower teeth with a dental tray. This tray holds gel-based hydrogen peroxide. We then protect your gums and lips by covering them. Finally, we turn on the specialized laser light that works with the hydrogen peroxide to give you a whiter, brighter grin.

Opalescence Go at-home treatments

When you want to whiten your teeth at home, Dental Studios uses Opalescence Go take-home, disposable whitening trays. This treatment takes several weeks instead of the two hours our in-office service provides, but you’ll get results you love.

You may experience a bit of dental sensitivity after using Opalescence Go, but research shows the treatment doesn’t harm your teeth or gums. 

Dental veneers

For patients with stains that whitening products can’t treat or if you have additional dental imperfections you’d like to correct, dental veneers offer a great solution. By completely covering the front of your teeth, these tooth-colored porcelain shells erase stains and other issues, like cracks, chips, and gaps.

Are you ready for a brighter, whiter smile? Contact the Dental Studios office nearest you to schedule an appointment, or book online now.

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What Our
patients say
  • I had an excellent experience with this practice! The dentist was very kind and listened attentively to my concerns. Everything went great and they checked on me a few hours after I got home. Great doctor and caring staff!

    by Damian L. on 8/29/21