Dr. Kathleen Mullaney • DDS • FAGD

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Types of Teeth Stains and How to Remove Them

Types of Teeth Stains and How to Remove Them

Many people want a bright smile, but stains can get in the way. The good news is you can deal with tooth discoloration.

This guide will look at different types of stains and how to remove them. We’ll cover stains on the outside and inside of teeth, even those that come with age, and how they affect your smile. Learn more here!

Who Experiences Tooth Staining?

Staining can affect individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Factors such as diet, oral hygiene, lifestyle choices, and aging can contribute to the development of tooth stains.

Types of Tooth Stains

Tooth stains can be broadly classified into three categories: extrinsic, intrinsic, and age-related stains. Each type requires a different approach for effective removal.

  1. Extrinsic Stains
  2. Extrinsic stains occur on the outer layer of the tooth, known as the enamel. These stains are primarily caused by consuming dark-colored foods and staining liquids.

    How to remove extrinsic stains: Regular oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing, along with whitening toothpaste or gel, can help remove extrinsic stains. However, professional teeth whitening treatments are the most effective option for achieving noticeable results.

  3. Intrinsic Stains
  4. Intrinsic stains appear when the inner layer of the tooth, called the dentin, becomes discolored. They’re caused by the buildup of staining agents within the enamel, which eventually penetrates the dentin.

    How to remove intrinsic stains: Unlike extrinsic stains, at-home solutions are generally ineffective at removing intrinsic stains. Professional whitening treatments, such as in-office or tray whitening, are typically recommended to address the discoloration at its core. These procedures involve the application of specialized whitening agents that penetrate the enamel and break down the stains within the dentin.

    Our Alexandria dentist, Dr. Mullaney, will determine the most suitable treatment approach based on the severity of the stains and your oral health.

  5. Age-Related Stains
  6. As we age, our teeth naturally undergo changes that can result in a less white appearance. The enamel thins over time, revealing the darker dentin underneath.

    How to remove age-related stains: Addressing age-related stains often requires a combination of professional intervention and restorative procedures. While professional teeth whitening treatment may lighten the appearance of age-related stains to some extent, dental crowns or veneers may be necessary for more significant improvement.

    These restorative options provide a long-lasting solution by covering the discolored teeth and creating a brighter, uniform smile.


How to Maintain Whitening Results

After undergoing teeth whitening treatments, it’s crucial to maintain your results for as long as possible. To extend the longevity of your whitened smile, follow these essential steps.

  • Adopt a diligent oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash to remove plaque building and prevent staining.
  • Schedule regular dental cleanings. Regular visits to your dentist for professional cleanings help remove stubborn stains and ensure the overall health of your teeth and gums.
  • Avoid stain-causing foods and beverages. Limit your consumption of dark-colored foods, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and berries, as they can contribute to developing new stains.
  • Quit smoking and tobacco use. Smoking and using tobacco products pose significant health risks and lead to yellowing and staining of teeth. Quitting these habits can help maintain a bright smile.


Make an Appointment With Dr. Kathleen Mullaney, DDS

If you’re ready to take the first step towards a whiter, more confident smile, Dr. Kathleen Mullaney, DDS, is here to help.

With her expertise in cosmetic dentistry and teeth whitening procedures, she can create a customized treatment plan tailored to your needs and goals. Whether you require in-office whitening treatments or at-home options, Dr. Mullaney will ensure you receive the best care.

Call 240-532-3335 or contact us today to schedule an appointment at our Alexandria office!
Author Bio: Dr. Kathleen Mullaney offers various general and cosmetic dentistry services in Alexandria, VA. She earned her doctorate in dental surgery from the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) and proudly served as a United States Navy dentist before opening her practice. With over 25 years of experience, Dr. Mullaney is delighted to be one of Old Town’s most respected and sought-after dentists! Call 240-532-3335 to schedule an appointment.

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* Includes necessary X-rays, Velscope Oral Cancer Screening and periodontal examination
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Had my first visit to Dr. Mullaney’s office this month since the pandemic and the experience was gold standard. The safety processes and clean office environment were impeccable. Dr. Mullaney and staff were, as usual, amazing. Every step was explained, the protective garments worn by staff were the best I have experienced. It was a safe and positive visit and I recommend making an appointment!!

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