Are There More than One Kind of Teeth Stains?

The reason why teeth-whitening is such a popular cosmetic dental treatment is because teeth stains are so common and prominent. They can also appear for a variety of reasons, from years of exposure to your foods and beverages to poor hygiene, tartar buildup, or a developing tooth infection. Usually, teeth stains can be erased with a professional teeth bleaching. However, there are times when cosmetic whitening won’t be enough, and understanding the different types of teeth stains will help you understand which treatment you may require to improve your smile.

When a Tooth is Just Stained

A stain is a blemish that affects the outer layer, or enamel, of your teeth. Over the years, your meals and drinks can leave minimal traces of color molecules, or chromogens, on your enamel, and the cumulative effects could stain your teeth. If tartar, or calcified plaque, develops, then you might also notice what seems like stains, which can be removed during your routine dental cleaning appointment. If your teeth are stained on the surface (extrinsic stains), then professional teeth-whitening will likely be able to erase them and return your smile’s youthful appearance.

When the Tooth is Changing Color

Sometimes, a tooth can appear stained, but the discoloration actually begins inside of the tooth, and is only visible because tooth enamel is nearly translucent. Known as intrinsic staining, such discoloration cannot be addressed with teeth-whitening. On the contrary, you may need to treat the tooth/teeth to eradicate the infection, and then improve its appearance through cosmetic dental bonding or porcelain veneers.

Improving Your Smile’s Appearance

Regardless of the origin of your teeth’s stains, addressing them may be vital to improving your confidence, and just as vital to restoring your dental health. If you notice that one or more of your teeth are no longer the pearly-white hue that they used to be, then schedule a cosmetic appointment to discuss your options.


As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.